Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Somewhere Inside: by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling

There is a fine line for journalists – between covering the story and becoming a part of the story.

On March 17, 2009, Laura Ling and fellow journalist Euna Lee found themselves a bigger part of the story they were covering than they bargained for. While shooting footage in China for a documentary about North Koreans who were defecting to China in droves, Laura and Euna were unwittingly led by a supposedly safe “guide” onto North Korean soil where they were captured by border soldiers.

What would follow would be months of being separated and placed in captivity by a hostile nation who seemed determined to make examples of the two women. Laura and Euna would be the first Americans to go through a trial and be convicted of trespassing and hostile acts by the North Korean government, and sentenced to twelve years of hard labor.

In the meantime, Ling’s sister, Lisa Ling (formerly co-host of “The View” and currently a correspondent for the Oprah Winfrey Show and National Geographic Channel) upon hearing of her sister’s arrest, began a campaign to bring her beloved sibling home. She would enlist the aid of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Senator John Kerry, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson for any help they might could offer in the negotiations for Laura and Euna’s pardon and release.

Ultimately it would be former President Bill Clinton who would ride to the rescue of the two women. It seemed North Korean President Kim Jong Il was a big fan of President Clinton, and would agree to the release of the prisoners if he could meet with Clinton.

“Somwhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity In North Korea and the Other’s Fight To Bring Her Home” tells the story of Laura’s ordeal and Lisa’s massive efforts through the voices of the sisters. Laura describes her time in captivity, how frightened she was, how the guards and interpreters assigned to her would take on more friendly characteristics, but how terrified she was to be sent to a hard-labor camp.

Lisa tells of her family’s desperate attempts to find someone, anyone, who could help them in this horrible situation, and the emotional and heartbreaking terror of not knowing what was happening thousands of miles away.

This book is a fascinating accounting of the events that unfolded around this story, but it also a touching look at the Ling sisters’ fierce loyalty to each other and the bond that would see them through the months of upheaval in their family’s lives.

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