Photo exhibition covers Hanoi's life during US's brutal 1972 bombing campaign

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A snap from the photo exhibition titled "Ha Noi nhung ngay dem nam 1972" (Hanoi's days and nights in 1972) open until Nov 9 in Hanoi

A four-week photo exhibition showing images of the capital city at the height of the Vietnam War in 1972 opened October 11 at the French Cultural Center in Hanoi.

The exhibition, entitled "Ha Noi nhung ngay dem nam 1972" (Hanoi's days and nights in 1972), covers 12 days and nights when the US forces launched Operation Linebacker II, a massive aerial bombardment of Hanoi in late December 1972.

The photos were taken by both Vietnamese and French photographers.

The display, organised by Professor Olivier Tessier of the French Institute of Oriental Studies and two Vietnamese journalists, capture the hard lives of soldiers and Hanoi residents, who had to have strong will power to overcome the toughest times of the war.

Operation Linebacker II was conducted from 1829 December 1972, leading to several of informal names such as "The December Raids" and "The Christmas Bombings". It saw the largest heavy bomber strikes launched by the US Air Force since the end of World War II.

According to Vietnamese historians, during the bombing campaign the US had carpet-bombed hospitals, schools, and residential areas, killing more than 1,600 civilians. They cited the bombing of Bach Mai Hospital and Kham Thien street on 26 December which had resulted in 278 dead and 290 wounded, and over 2,000 homes destroyed.

            THE DIRTY DOZEN

Olivier Tessier, a researcher who has collected photos and ancient maps of Hanoi across the 19th and 20th centuries, was honored with the  "Bui Xuan Phai - For the Love of Hanoi" award this year.

The annual prize is named after Phai (1920 - 1988), a painter famous for his stunning images of Hanoi.

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