As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Help Euna Lee and Laura Ling Leave North Korea

While the case of Roxana Saberi stirred enough attention in the media to extract her release from Iran, the similar case of two journalists detained in North Korea since March has not been given the same level of notoreity. The Current TV journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, will stand trial for "hostile acts" against the DPRK on Thursday, and their families are speaking out after months of silence, calling for the United States to work for the girls' release.

"Our families have been quiet because the situation is very sensitive and we've been really trying to allow diplomacy to take its course," Lisa Ling, Laura's sister, said on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Monday night. "But you know, you'd have to be hiding under a rock not to see what's going on in the Korean Peninsula.

"I mean tensions are so heated," she continued, "and the girls are essentially in the midst of this nuclear standoff."

Late last month, North Korea conducted nuclear and missile tests, drawing the condemnation of the U.N. Security Council.

"We just felt like it was time for us to talk publicly and try and encourage our two governments to try to communicate, to try and bring our situation to a resolution on humanitarian grounds -- to separate the issues," said Ling, who is a special correspondent with CNN.

As I may have mentioned before, I actually know Euna Lee. I worked with her briefly when I lived in San Francisco. And I encourage everyone to speak out and intensify the international spotlight on this issue. The two journalists have basically become bargaining chips, as the North Koreans continue their nuclear and missile tests and generally behave belligerently toward the West. We need to extricate themselves from this so they are not caught in the crossfire.

Some friends in San Francisco have put together some action items to help raise the profile of the case. There's a petition to release Lee and Ling on humanitarian grounds. And today, there will be nationwide vigils in the US and Canada. Find the vigil in your area at the Facebook site.

San Francisco
steps of City Hall, 6pm

Los Angeles
Wokcano, 1413 5th Street, Santa Monica, 6:30pm

L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen, 1801 L Street, 6:30pm

Please participate if you can.

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