Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Somewhere Inside" - By Lisa and Laura Ling

We have 3 channels of TV consistently aired in English.

One of which is CNN, so we find ourselves more current on world news than ever before.
I am really enjoying staying informed.

Two nights ago, there was a story about Dennis Rodman going to visit North Korea on March 1st.    Among other things, he "was wined and dined over sushi" and watched a baseball game with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose regime calls America "the sworn enemy of the Korean people."  (source)  Of his visit there, Rodman said regarding Kim Jong Un (son of the late Kim Jong Il) "Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome." (source)  CNN host Anderson Cooper challenged Dennis' feelings by rhetorically asking (something to the effect of) "Do you know his people are starving and suffering in goulogs (compared with concentration camps)?  Do you realize that his country is developing nuclear war missiles to potentially use against the United States?"  He then asked Lisa Ling to comment on her opinion of Dennis' visit, considering her history with their government and leaders.  

This story really intrigued me, and I asked Scott "who is Lisa Ling and what is her experience with North Korea?"  Scott just happened to have the Kindle version of her book co-authored with her sister Laura Ling.  We loaded it onto our ipad and iphone, and didn't really go out much over the next 24 hours... 

Laura Ling (left) Lisa Ling (Right)

I feel like after reading this book, I have so much insight to the tumultuous background of the US- North Korean conflict.  I LOVE finishing a book and feeling like I learned about an important issue or gained insight to a group of people.

Journalist Laura Ling (Sister of The View's host Lisa Ling) goes to North Korea in 2009 (This is so current!!!) with 2 colleagues to film interviews and footage in hopes of bringing to light the terrible plight of North Korean defectors-- people crossing the border to gain a better life in China. They risk everything in this attempt.  If caught, they are subject to certain execution, and even even if they do flee, they don't have jobs or resources and end up sold as wives or working in the sex-trade industry.  Laura was raised by her grandmother who taught the girls to be strong women, and speak for people without a voice. 

Through a series of events, Laura and her friend Euna end up being captured by North Korean guards (although, on Chinese soil) and imprisoned for 5 long months of abuse and fear.  Due to the sensitivity of the situation and the instability of the NK government, this story was not publicized in the US until several months in.  The story is written alternately by both Laura and her sister Lisa who has many prestigious connections with the media and politicians in the states.  This all took place within the first 8 months of President Obama's leadership.  Lisa was relentless in her efforts to rescue her "baby sister" and explored every avenue possible.  Obviously, Laura and Lisa both gained a greater insight into the North Korean government than they ever hoped. These sisters became a channel that the NK government used to communicate with the United States for more than just the issue of the girls' captivity. 
Considering that the last book I read within 24 hours was Harry Potter in the sixth grade, I can confidently say that this book is a page-turner!  It was fun to read it with Scott and compare ideas and insights.  

We woke up this morning to the Fox headline "North Korea vows nuclear attack on US, saying Washington will be 'engulfed in a sea of fire.'"  

I highly recommend this book if you want to learn some history regarding this current issue and come to love these sisters and their story of hope.


Sarah Lunt said...

I love staying up on current events too but sometimes it gets so overwhelming that I can't handle it! Thanks for posting this! I remember when this story finally broke and it was so scary to think what might have happened to Laura and the others! I'm praying that North Korea takes a step back. :-\

Suzy said...

Sounds like a good read. Another great book on North Korea is called Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick.