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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hoping against hope

Of all the paths my life might take, one place I never want to end up is in prison. Specifically, a North Korean prison. 

In March, two American reporters were detained after allegedly entering North Korean territory. Tomorrow, Laura Ling and Euna Lee go on trial. Can you imagine a place where you're less likely to get a fair trial than North Korea?! I can't.  

The Lee and Ling families are hoping that public support can sway the seemingly-fixed outcome of this sham of a trial. They have taken to U.S. and international airwaves to discuss the case in hopes that someone in the north is listening and will release the women. 

Secretary of State Clinton said last month she is "hopeful" that a trial may ensure the women's prompt release -- since the alternative could have been throwing Lee and Ling in a prison somewhere outside of Pyongyang and forgetting about them.

It's a scary situation. Obviously Lee and Ling shouldn't have trespassed onto North Korean soil, although this is unsubstantiated claim by a ruthless dictator, so it can be hard to take his word at face value. 

Many eyes here in South Korea, as well as those of Koreans around the world, are turned toward this trial and its eventual outcome. We're all hoping for a peaceful solution, a slap on the wrist, maybe a fine and then deportation. Should the reporters face more jail time, it could be very bad indeed. 

On an unrelated but equally newsworthy note, did anyone else see the fantastic "Inside the White House" special that aired last night on NBC? Apparently part two airs tonight and I'll be excited to watch it tomorrow. It's clearly great PR for the Obama administration and perfectly set up to make them look great, but it's also a fascinating look inside the inner workings of the White House. For someone like me who used to love "The West Wing," this is must-see TV.