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John Ramsden, Hanoi After the War

Abstract : "The Vietnam of 1981 was a very different place: isolated, impoverished, still on a semi-war footing and run on Marxist lines. The poster reads “Towards the 5th Congress” — no hint of the doi moi (reform) or mo cua (open door) policies that would begin in 1986. I was one of a handful of westerners living in Hanoi during 1980–82 (with the British embassy). Any meaningful contact with the people of the city was forbidden, but I was free to roam the streets. I arrived expecting a sort of Pyongyang, in line with Cold War stereotypes. Instead I found an ancient capital with a rather wistful beauty. Life was extremely hard for the people, who responded with ingenuity and courage. The reality was far removed from the Soviet-style images on the poster. People scraped a living any way they could: traditional crafts flourished; hawkers and traders filled the streets; the outskirts of the city were a maze of small market gardens. The temples were dilapidated but very much alive." (source :
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Contributor : Efeo Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 1:24:39 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 28, 2020 - 3:28:58 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02565346, version 1



Andrew Hardy. John Ramsden, Hanoi After the War. Skira, pp.155, 2017. ⟨halshs-02565346⟩



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