WORD MAGAZINE: General Sciences Library HCMC

The Bureau

When a 17 year old, born Le Van Trong, went to the guillotine on the 21st November 1931 at the Maison Centrale de Saigon, the moments leading up to his impending death must’ve been horrific. The teenager had been sentenced to death for shooting dead a French police officer during a rally celebrating the anniversary of the Yen Bai uprising just nine months earlier. The uprising had been an attempt to overthrow the ruling French colonial regime the previous year.    

On this day, the young activist would’ve been roused by the unlocking of the cage door to his dank death row cell, then poked and prodded to his knees. His cangue, a crude and barbaric, yet extremely effective torture device, would’ve weighed down his gaunt and listless body so much so that his captors would’ve had to lift him to his feet. After which, he would’ve been dragged out…

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