i’ve always had this fascination with North Korea, especially after seeing the National Geographic documentary (which can be seen here: http://www.onlinedocumentaries4u.com/2009/06/inside-north-korea.html
). The fact that these people live in such a secluded piece of the world, the fact that they are prisoners, the fact that despite the photos, stories and voices that come out of this place, there is nothing that can be done to help.
Today i found out that North Korea’s top court has convicted two U.S. journalists, and sentenced them to 12 years in labor prison
, the country’s state news agency reported Monday.
The Central Court tried American TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee and confirmed their unspecified ”grave crime” against the nation, and of illegally crossing into North Korea
, the Korean Central News Agency said.
It said the court — which tried the women from June 4 to 8 — ”sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor.” The report gave no other details.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul said it had no immediate comment.
The circumstances surrounding the trial of the two journalists and their arrest three months ago on the China-North Korean border have been shrouded in secrecy, as is typical of the reclusive nation.
There were fears that the two women would be used by Pyongyang as bargaining chips in its standoff with South Korea and the United States, which are pushing for U.N. sanctions to punish the nation for its latest nuclear blast and barrage of missile tests.
The journalists — working for former Vice President Al Gore’s California-based Current TV — were arrested March 17 as they were reporting about the trafficking of women. It’s unclear if they strayed into the North or were grabbed by aggressive border guards who crossed into China.
Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider did not have an immediate response to the sentencing.The women cannot appeal as they were tried in North Korea’s highest court where decisions are final.
The sentences are much harsher than what many observers had hoped for. The trial was not open to the public or to foreign observers. (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/06/08/world/AP-AS-NKorea-Journalists-Held.html?_r=1&src=twt&twt=nytimes
my heart goes out to these women and their families. I cannot begin to imagine the horrors they have or are going to face.
i’ve spent the last hour or so looking at pictures and videos of North Korea, and i have a sort of emptiness in my soul. I want to go out and help. I want to show the world. There is so much more to life than our little problems. We take so much for granted, yet we have no idea what else lies out there. And yes, i am completely guilty of doing this. We complain at the smallest of things. We cannot possibly fathom the awful things people that aren't as fortunate as us deal with. Our lives are so small when it comes to the big retrospective of things. The world is scary. the things that happen because of one thing can lead to something else much worse. The world is so much bigger. I know i won't stop complaining about the small things, but i don't want to be oblivious to the bigger picture. i want to help, i know i can’t change the world but if i could at least try…