Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Free at last

Good news is hard to find these days, so let’s revel in it today. Jailed American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee came home today into the eager arms of their families after more than four months imprisoned in North Korea. We can get into the who did what when and how later. Right now, just feel this love.

It’s OK, don’t be ashamed to cry; it’s the good kind of cry. I should have told you to have Kleenex ready beforehand. Afterward, Laura, whose sister is the American television journalist Lisa Ling, spoke to the media. This time I will warn you; Kleenex, people.

What an amazing turnaround for the two women who in June were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in a North Korea prison camp for allegedly straying across the border into the country while working on a report for Current TV. Since their capture four and a half months ago their families have kept up a tireless campaign to have them released.

You see the thing is, diplomacy works. Yesterday former Pres. Bill Clinton made a surprise trip to North Korea to secure the release of jailed journalists and, well, it worked. Of course, Bill didn’t act alone. He went with the implicit blessing and careful planning of Pres. Obama, Sec. Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and the families of the imprisoned women. But it was good old Bill who came, saw, negotiated and less than 20 hours later flew home with the now pardoned and free journalists in tow. Admit it, you miss the hell out of Bill.

The only thing that pisses me off about this story? How some have already made this a “Bill Overshadows Hillary!” story. Talk about your news judgment fail. This is a “Thank God These Women Are Home Safely” story, period. OK, it’s also kind of a “Bill Clinton Is Still the Man” story. But I don’t think anyone – even the wingnuttiest of wingnutty Hillary haters – can honestly believe that Hillary is sitting by herself seething at this moment. She is overjoyed, as are we all. Welcome home, ladies. And thanks, Bubba.

22 comments:

J9 said...

Ms. Snarker - in two days you've taken me from heart stopping, jaw dropping lust to bawling my eyes out joy!

Norma Desmond said...

I do miss Bill. I'd vote for him again in an instant.

tenofive said...

I was so psyched when I heard that he went to North Korea yesterday. And ecstatic when I heard the news that the journalists had been pardoned and released. I was particularly pleased to be able to tell my right-wing father who HATES the Clintons for no reason that he's ever been able to articulate to me, that Bill had succeeded in bringing them home. I am sure that hundreds of people worked behind the scenes to be able to get the women released and I'd like to thank them. I'd also like to thank the people who voted for Barack Obama as this would not have been possible under the previous administration! A happy day for all Americans, indeed!

Eva YaaAsantewaa said...

Really nice job on this, Dorothy, and that's coming from someone who is far from a Bill Clinton fan. Clearminded people are just thrilled and relieved that these two journalists are safe and home with their loved ones. We're not wasting time trying to make a who-struck-John story out of this. Let's hear it for everyone who had a hand in pulling this together and, from NY Times reports, it sounds like it was careful and well-coordinated teamwork above all with the final touches put on it by The Big Dog. Credit where it's due.

pippin said...

thank you ms. snarker for this post. it was heartwarming indeed! i'm so very happy for laura ling and euna lee and their families. :)

Shannon said...

I will admit that I totally cried while watching the video of Euna Lee and Laura Ling returning home and finally getting the chance to see their loved ones again.

I commend former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and all the other people involved in helping bring these women home safe and sound.

It's great to see a news story turn out well!

Sapphic Hyperbole said...

I know I'm gonna get allot of boos, but I am beginning to think that maybe journalists and "tourists" who "accidently" wander too close to borders may indeed have nefarious motives. I mean seriously in this time and age, do you expect me to believe they have no "idea" of the political atmosphere of the country they were investigating? They got caught plain and simple. I am glad they they are home and safe but they got caught.

Your friend, Rusty said...

"You see the thing is, diplomacy works."

Absolutely and the Big Dog got it done.

Chris said...

I stayed up until 1:30 AM here in New Zealand waiting for news that their plane had landed. It's so wonderful to have them back - and now I hope they write a book about the whole thing.

Sapphic, this isn't quite a boo, but come on. Of course they knew about the political atmosphere of North Korea. That's what they were reporting on. If they did intentionally break the law by crossing the border - and I'm not convinced they did, confession or no confession - that's a matter for debate later on. But maybe they had a good reason for it. Should be be angry at journalists in Iran for breaking the law and getting caught?

Anonymous said...

I miss Hillary. Just Hillary.

Sapphic Hyperbole said...

Chris,

When one is in another country be it Iran or North or South Korea what is one to expect? Hell under the Bush administration one didn't even have to leave the United States and could be detained indefinitely so am I to think that these two may have broken the law b ut maybe they have a "Good Reason" WTF? Come On, like I wrote they got CAUGHT Plain and Simple.

Anonymous said...

Thanks snarker. Really moving post. When I see Euna hold her daughter, I just loose it.

Chris said...

Yes, Sappho, maybe they had a good reason. They wanted to cover an important story about the sex trafficking of women, which the North Korean government is trying to hide from the rest of the world. This required them to go very close to the Korean border. And at one point, their story might have led them a step or two inside the border.

Dangerous? Absolutely. Foolish? Maybe. "Nefarious"? Really? It's the laws of North Korea that are evil, not Laura and Euna. Wait until we hear the details before you judge them.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

He is a former president who still has a lot of good will overseas. I don't see this as upstaging at all. What if Jimmy Carter had done it? Someone also known for his diplomacy? It's not like you're going to see Dubya or Cheney doing one damn thing. They very nearly ruined our country...at home and abroad, and proudly so.

Melanie.Trini said...

I was so unbelievably happy when I heard this. I can't believe it's been 4 months! GO Bill!!!
I can't imagine how happy their families must be to be back together. Such a great outcome :)

Anonymous said...

Not to rain on the Bill Clinton parade, but he didn't negotiate squat. The negotiations were completed and he basically jetted over to N. Korea to pick the ladies up, take pictures with the Little Creep for him to use as propaganda, and escorted the women home because the little dictator wanted the prestige of dealing with him. Clinton had somewhat of a good (relatively speaking as far as N. Korea goes) relationship with N. Korea going before Bush blew that all to hell.

Regardless, thank God Ms. Lee and Ms. Ling are home safe and sound. I really didn't think it was going to happen. You can see by the looks on their faces they didn't either. Absolutely wonderful turn of events.

Euna Lee's daughter really does say it all in the way she almost didn't recognize her Mom, and then just clung to her once she did.

Sapphic Hyperbole said...

Yes Chris,

I am quite sure that your cultural competence is quite extensive to evaluate good and evil as they pertain to the norms and values of other cultures. I am not necessarily obliged to abide by your choice of syntax and frankly I no longer wish to engage in this dialectic with you. You have your opinioon, I have mine.

alice said...

... and you've said it all. So strange to have multiple presidents, sitting and non, whom I'm proud of. (I hesitated over 'proud' because it's really been so long since I've felt that way. Carter's always been a great ex-pres, but Clinton was the only other one I'd ever felt happy about.)

There are still numerous probs with our government, but it's so nice to be able to think on some of their actions without shame again.

kimber p said...

The emotions that were displayed by everyone had me grabbing for kleenex after kleenex. this homecoming has been so long awaited and the look on their faces as they descended the steps of the plane to once again be on American soil...it was truly a beautiful thing to watch.

Anonymous said...

People can bash Bill and Hill all they want; its still a free country. I'm just really, really glad they both live here...

mary said...

Sapphic Hyperbole,
Are you capable of having a debate without being insulting?

Anonymous said...

Sapphic,

How do you think one is supposed to practice journalism in closed dictatorships? Is it really a no-no to break in or tip toe around the borders to try and see what the hell is going on in countries that imprison their people and do not have anything resembling a free press? I'm sure they were aware of the risks, which to me makes them incredibly brave and worth defending, instead of mocking or wagging my finger in their face from my couch or computer, thinking "I told you so."

They "got caught" trying to shine a light on abusive dictatorships and the workings therein. Hardly nefarious. Try "brave" and you're getting closer.

Boo indeed.