12-year-old activist goes international on Facebook
You may have heard about two American reporters who allegedly entered North Korea illegally in March, 2009. Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, were doing a story for Current TV, a media outlet based in San Francisco. Laura’s sister, Lisa, was on television’s The View.
They were reporting on the trafficking of women when they were arrested for crossing the border into North Korea. They were put on trial in June, 2009 and both were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. The American press initially paid little attention to the events until a few grassroots groups got involved.
Max Jones is a 12-year-old reporter for Weekend News Today, an online news program in Orlando, Florida. He investigated the plight of Ling and Lee and got involved. Through Facebook he helped organize vigils across the country and educated his peers at school about the case. In July, 2009, he flew to Arizona to participate in a rally in support of granting the women amnesty.
Update After months of quiet negotiations involving Sweden, former Vice-President Al Gore and a visit from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the women were pardoned by President Kim Jong Il and released on August 4, 2009. It is reported that the North Korean President had always wanted to meet former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Consequently, Pres. Clinton paid a surprise visit to the country and met with President Il. This event may lower the chill between the two countries – time will tell. The women were flown to their homes in California.
Keep up the great work, Max. We look to you as a future leader and productive citizen.