Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lisa Ling responds to my criticisms

Ms Lisa Ling, the noted broadcast journalist whose sister Laura Ling, a journalist for Current TV, was held in North Korea along with colleague Euna Lee after both crossed into North Korean territory last year, sent me an email regarding strongly worded criticisms I made on this blog  with respect to upcoming release of the book she and her sister wrote about the ordeal, Somewhere Inside.

With her permission, I am reprinting that letter below (but with minor edits done by her), with comments closed. Sometime soon I will offer my response to her letter [UPDATE: My lengthy response can be found here]. I have offered to let her have the final word with any rebuttal to my response, if she sees fit. At that time I may consider opening comments. [UPDATE (May 18, 2010): Comments can be left at this "final" post in our correspondence.]

Hi there,

Saw your latest blog and though you have very right to write what you please, I just thought I would give you a bit of context from our side so that you have it.

First of all, though I am a co-author on Somewhere Inside, I am not making a penny from the book sales whatsoever. I am donating my entire portion to LiNK, CPJ and RSF.

While my sister and her team made a mistake by setting foot onto NK soil, they were used as political bargaining tools by the North Korea government. Since their return and President Clinton's visit, there have been a lot of positive movements. The North Koreans released the Hyundai worker as well as the South Korean fishermen they had been holding not to mention Robert Park after 2 months of detention.

North Korea also allowed Steven Bosworth into the country and a top level NK diplomat is scheduled to visit the U.S. next month to discuss nuclear disarmament.

How you can say that we have blood on our hands is so upsetting. Talk to the people at LiNK and ask them if they have noticed an improvement in the tone coming out of North Korea since my sister and Euna's return.

I am deeply proud of my sister and believe that her story will provoke people to think differently about what can happen when human beings get the opportunity to interact with one another despite that fact that their countries may consider each another enemies.

Thank you for using your voice. You are a very passionate person and I admire that. Know that my intentions have never been about self-aggrandizement. I have been lucky that God bestowed a path for me that I take very seriously, and that is for telling stories. I realize that there will be many who will be unhappy with some of the things I tell, but I feel compelled to tell them nonetheless.

Be well,