Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Touching Homecoming

Whenever I saw the news reports on the two reporters Euna Lee, and Laura Ling, I never realized that Euna Lee was a mother of a four year old daughter. God Bless President Bill Clinton for achieving their release. I shutter to think about the alternative.

This beautiful little girl would have lived the next six years of her life without her mommy. As a mother relating to Euna Lee, I can only imagine how horrible those moments just before falling asleep would have been for those six years thinking of her daughter and longing to hold her again.

I had been an audience member of The View, when Lisa Ling's family were also audience members during a show dedicated to Father's Day. It also becomes a personal reality when you come close to loosing your own sister, and I have experienced the loss of my older brother.

When we realize that these two girls were not just journalists who willingly crossed into dangerous territory, and think of them as a mommy, wife, sister, or daughter it personalizes the importance of the work President Clinton did to get them released.
I hope that the good things he did will finally over shadow his infidelities to his wife, his unwillingness to truthfully admit to them in front of the whole world, and allow him the dignity he deserves as an excellent statesman, and peace maker.

He may have been motivated to help his collegue Vice President Al Gore who owned the TV Network that employed the two journalists, or he may have just wanted to help these two ladies come home, but whatever the motivation the outcome was successful, and there is reason to be joyful.

The following is taken from wikipedia meant to give the background story.

Current TV is an independent media company led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt. The cable television network went on the air at midnight EDT (4:00 UTC) on the morning of August 1, 2005. A second network, operated in the United Kingdom and Ireland started its operation March 12, 2007, for Sky in the UK and Ireland and on Virgin Media in the UK. A third network, operated in Italy started its operation February 8, 2008, for SKY Italia subscribers and later for subscribers.

Current TV features "pods", or short programs, of which a portion are created by viewers and users.

An experimental Canadian show from CBC called ZeD was the first programmed broadcast of user-generated video content.[1] Other inspiration for Current TV came from a 1990s series on MTV called UNfiltered, where the network sent cameras to viewers in order to report on stories they thought were important. Current TV is the first American 24-hour network based around viewer-created content, which it dubs VC. This excerpt is from Wikipedia on Current TV

The North Korean military detained two American journalists working for Current TV in March 2009 after they allegedly crossed into North Korea from China.[11]

"Two reporters working for a U.S.-based Internet news media outlet, including a Korean American, were detained by North Korean authorities earlier this week, and they remain in custody there," said Yonhap news agency, quoting an unnamed diplomatic source. Reports say that the journalists were both warned several times by the North Korean military, about crossing the border.[12]

The two female journalists are Korean American Euna Lee and Taiwanese American Laura Ling of Current TV based in California in the United States. Lee is the editor of the news for Current TV and Ling is one of the agency's reporters. They were said to have been shooting a video of the border region of China and N. Korea when they were arrested at the Tumen River. Laura Ling is the younger sister of CNN reporter Lisa Ling.

The U.S. says they are concerned about the incident.

"We're aware of reports that early in the morning of March 17, China time, two American citizens were taken into custody across the Tumen river by what appear to be North Korean border guards. We are working with Chinese government officials in that particular area to ascertain the whereabouts and welfare of the Americans in question. We've also been in touch with North Korean officials to express our concern about the situation," said U.S. State Department spokesman, Fred Lash.

On March 30, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, reported that preparations were under way for indictments and a trial, saying, "The illegal entry of US reporters into the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements."[13][14] The two will face trial on June 4.[15]

According to Kim Tae-woo of the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, “The journalists considerably weakened their government’s leverage against the North,” in ongoing negotiations over the DPRK's nuclear program.[16]

On June 8, Reuters reported that the two reporters were found guilty of illegal entry and committing "hostile acts against the DPRK" and subsequently sentenced to twelve years of hard labor.[17]

On August 4, BBC news reported that they were pardoned amidst a visit by former president Bill Clinton.[18] They were released and returned home the following day.

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