15 July 2009

Laura Ling & Euna lee

We all should be in prayer for two women who were arrested at the border of North Korea and China in March. They are American journalists named Euna Lee and Laura Ling. They were, as I understand, investigating human trafficking and crossed a border into North Korea illegally in the course of their interviewing of Korean refugees in China.

The last I read, they had been sentenced to 12 years hard labor at a notoriously terrible North Korean labor camp. However, I read today that they are actually being kept at a "guesthouse" in the city of Pyongyang! This is certainly a blessing for the women and the families who love them, as it is much better than the sentence they were officially given.

The article from the Austin-American Statesman said this: "North Korea wants the US to show remorse for the actions of two American journalists convicted of illegally entering the country, and it might free the women if Washington does so..."

The reason I am writing about this is because of my recent post about taqiyya. My first thought when reading the apologetic yet reserved quotes from US Secretary of State Clinton was "why don't they just grovel a bit and get the women free, and then say what they want later, when the women are safe?" Then I recalled the sanctioned deception for devout followers of Islam, and how we don't trust countries that practice that. Of course I want America to be trustworthy, an example to the rest of the world. When I was in basic training, and we learned about the Geneva Conventions (rules of war):

"1.) Persons who can no longer take part in the hostilities are entitled to respect for their life. Such persons must in all circumstances be protected and treated with humanity.

2.) It is forbidden to kill or wound an adversary who surrenders or who can no longer take part in the fighting.

3.) The wounded and sick must be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power. Medical personnel and medical establishments, transports and equipment must be spared. The red cross or red crescent on a white background is the sign protecting such persons and objects and must be respected.

4.) Captured combatants and civilians who find themselves under the authority of the adverse party are entitled to respect for their life, their dignity, their personal rights and their political, religious and other convictions.

5.)Everyone must enjoy basic judicial guarantees and no one may be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one may be subjected to physical or mental torture or to cruel or degrading corporal punishment or other treatment.

6.) It is forbidden to use weapons or methods of warfare that are likely to cause unnecessary losses or excessive suffering.

7.) The parties to a conflict must at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare the civilian population and civilian property. Attacks may be made solely against military objectives."

I think Americans in general have a standard of honor that we try to uphold; I know there are exceptions and mistakes, but on the whole we are a respectable armed force and do not indiscriminately kill people and make them suffer. There is so much done in the name of pride in North Korea... they want us to bow and scrape so that they will look powerful over us.

What is my point? I don't know. We should pray for the women to be freed. We should pray that pride has no power over our own lives. We need to pray that the Gospel will be preached in North Korea, for safety and courage for Christians over there. We need to pray for our servicemen and women to make the right choices in hard times. Prayer is something any and all of us can do, wherever we are.