Riding along the bumpy road to the DMZ border was perhaps the one of the most heart-wrenchingly surreal moments that I’ve ever experienced. I remember stepping out and looking over to the other side of the green mountain where North and South Korea is divided. I could see the small roofs and farms of North Korea…the watchmen, the soldiers, the DMZ meeting house that rests on the exact border. I felt a giant knot twisting in my gut thinking, “people actually pay money to see this? I couldn’t believe what a tourist site the DMZ had become. I remember one week after I had visited the quiet zone, news had broken out that a South Korean woman tourist got shot by a North Korean soldier due to her wild gesturing.
The stagnant war between North and South Korea has redefined the people of Korea. Deep, unchangeable rifts have been created and thousands of families torn apart.
My family is an example of one of them.
One of my grand-uncles may still reside in North Korea and two of my grand-aunts were shot for dating two “liberal” men in college. North Korea remains such a harrowing tale of the tragedies of war and the continuance of fear.
But organizations such as LiNK are changing things up. Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is redefining the North Korea crisis through creative storytelling, while providing emergency relief to North Korean refugees and pursuing an end to the human rights crisis.
I first heard of LiNK a couple of years ago on campus at UCI as a sophomore. LiNK is one of the only U.S. based assistance organization that hosts national awareness tours that use film, stories of refugees and creative media to educate communities of the North Korea crisis, and provide opportunities to change the lives of North Koreans through their local chapters that continue to build awareness, advocacy and funds for their programs and rescue operations.
In fact, LiNK released their first documentary, “Hiding” on September 26, featuring their underground networks and refugee rescues and shelters. The documentary can be eligible to be screened all over the U.S., at high schools, colleges and places of worship. For more information on how to check out or host a screening, check out the link here. They are even doing an 8 week “webisode” series with the Ford Foundation to follow North Korean defector, Danny, as he resettles in Los Angeles.
Check out the trailer here:
The documentary shows a more personal and human side on the disaster that is North Korea. Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans continue to be enslaved in prison camps. Up to 300,000 have also escaped to China – seeking food, medicine, work, or freedom from political and religious oppression. Among the 300,000, 70 to 90% of North Korean women are sold into the sex trade, and more and more refugees are fleeing to Southeast Asia to escape imprisonment upon repatriation by China.
“Hiding” is a film about a group of North Korean refugees hiding in China today and exposes their struggles to survive. I can’t wait to watch the screening and hope all of you readers get a chance to watch the documentary. The future is looking brighter with much of your needed support.
To learn more about LiNK and how you can help the North Korean Crisis, you can support LiNK here.
Current TV journalist Euna Lee made global headlines with her captivity in North Korean jail with fellow journalist Laura Ling last year. Since then, both women have been honored as Glamour’s Women of the Year. Lee is returning to the public with her début book, The World Is Bigger Now: A Story of Faith, Family and Forgiveness, published by Broadway Books (an imprint of Random House), to be released on September 28, 2010.
According to a previous report by The New York Times, the book would detail “her 140 days of imprisonment, her ongoing interrogation and her efforts to protect her sources and the subjects of her reporting, as well as the importance of her religious faith during this time.”
What we can expect from the yet to be released memoir are the developments that led up to Lee and Ling’s March 17, 2009 capture at the China-North Korean border while they were investigating the trafficking of North Korean female refugees, as well as Lee’s personal and detailed account of her captivity for more than four months within the enigmatic confines of North Korea.
The book was co-authored by Lisa Dickey, a frequent contributor of biographies and memoirs.
Can’t wait? You can pre-order the book here.
I am so excited! Laura Ling and Lisa Ling, sisters and co-authors of the newly released Somewhere Inside, which tells the story of Laura’s harrowing imprisonment inside North Korea, will be having a book signing in Downtown L.A. this weekend. Co-sponsored by Giant Robot and Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), the event will be their first book signing event for the sister journalists.
In 2005, Laura worked as a series producer for Channel One News. She later became the vice president of Current TV’s investigative journalism series Vanguard, and an on-air correspondent for the show.
A contributor to ABC’s Nightline and the National Geographic channel, Lisa Ling is a correspondent for the Oprah Winfrey Show. She was also a co-host of ABC’s The View until 2002. (Lisa graced Audrey‘s cover in April/May 2004.)
“Somewhere Inside is the electrifying, never-before-told story of Laura Ling’s capture by the North Koreans in March 2009, and the efforts of her sister, journalist Lisa Ling, to secure Laura’s release by former President Bill Clinton. This true account of the first-ever trial of an American citizen in North Korea’s highest court carries readers deep inside the world’s most secretive nation while it poignantly explores the powerful, inspiring bonds of sisterly love.” – GR2
See you there!
DETAILS Giant Robot Los Angeles (GR2),
2062 Sawtelle Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA,
5 – 7 pm.
By Dianne Lee