When Bombs Are Falling, Dig A Tunnel!

The Vinh Moc Tunnels were a response to the heavy bombing by the American forces which began in the mid-1960s. Located on the coast of Viet Nam, north of the Ben Hai River, the border between North and South Viet Nam, these tunnels remain as testimony to the resilience of the Vietnamese people.

As the bombs rained down, with the goal of destroying the villages and forcing the people to leave (but to go where?), an entire village dug in and remained. For more than two years, several thousand people lived in these tunnels, with their niches and alcoves providing spaces for cooking, eating, sleeping, studying, making love, and giving birth. Seventeen babies entered the world in these tunnels.

Initially, ten meters deep, from necessity, they eventually reached a depth of 30 meters, with an average height of about 1 1/2 meters.

The recent Veterans for Peace (USA) Tour, of which I was a part, visited these tunnels. Even though, I had visited them in 2007, I experienced them this time with fresh eyes, the eyes of an American Marine who marveled at the courage and abilities of his former enemies to endure sure hardship.

Vinh Moc Tunnels refreshment area. The ingenuity of her ancestors continues, as she chops ice with a broken piece of machinery.

Vinh Moc Tunnels refreshment area. The ingenuity of her ancestors continues,
as she chops ice with a broken piece of machinery.

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