At the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Sunday, 6 May, 2012

A trip to the big city of Hanoi is a memorable occasion and a group photo in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum belongs to the essential rituals of the excursion. Visitors should note that legs must be covered, silence must be observed, hands must not be in pockets, nor arms crossed. Photography is not permitted inside the mausoleum.

Up for Ho!

In his Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined, Alan West-Duran wrote about the phenomenon of communist mausoleums and their famous occupants: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il Sung. “Despite visual proof of mortality, it is as if the leader’s dead body were the embodiment of the Party’s eternal power,” he noted. “The social body, the body of doctrine, the collective body of the Party must never be allowed to decay, to become corrupt. The mausoleum itself seems to indicate its triumph over nature: its immobility, its ‘sacred’ dimension bespeaks perfection.” In the eyes of Alan West-Duran, nature, architecture, dogma, space and time come together in the mausoleum. “The ‘beautiful sickness’ of revolution has become the ‘beautiful totality’ of utopia in the form of a dead body, the corpse of paradigms lost.”

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