Why Laura and Euna Need You

If you ever want me to do something, just tell me not to do it. It might be my stubborn nature or because I’m open to trying just about anything – especially if I think there’s any chance it might help someone out. But don’t ever tell me not to try.

Image from the Huffington Post

That’s a pretty self-serving way to open a blog post, but I’m talking about the petition for Laura and Euna – to free these two journalists that are being detained and were just sentenced to 12 years in a prison in North Korea.  Some folks at Care 2 started the petition for Laura and Euna, and I decided to push it around via Twitter.

What surprised immediately was two things – how much immediate hating I got from others on twitter, and how fast the petition got retweeted. (Thanks for those that did retweet the petition.)

Let me make something really clear: I know that this petition will not directly sway the North Korean government. That doesn’t mean its not a meaningful act. That’s not why I’m trying to get people to sign it.  The point is to keep the energy, the noise and the interest at as heightened a level as we can.  I’m outraged, and I’m going to make noise however I can so that maybe the media will pay attention to what’s going with Laura and Euna.  And in the process of expressing my solidarity for their release, I will meet others that feel the same way.  As we come together – online or even off (there was a vigil for Laura and Euna last week) – we are building capacity.  Yes, none of us are diplomats, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have an opinion.  Moreover, why would anyone want to silence that?  Isn’t that the problem with North Korea?  That they censure their people?  Even if you think the petition is dumb, futile or pointless, luckily the internet is so vast there is space for me and 13,000 other people to publicly declare that we want Euna and Laura to come home. The idea that someone would tell me “don’t try, you look ridiculous” just makes me more committed to becoming even noisier.

These two very courageous women are somewhere in North Korea right now, two modern day muckrakers who are trying to shed light on a deplorable situation.  This has been going on since March with little attention.  The legal sentence made on Friday gives us a chance to pump up the online and offline noise on their situation.  So let’s leverage that opportunity.

Let me put this in a slightly different way.  If you’ve ever played 9-ball pool or gone sailing, you know the power of tacking to win.  You often can’t hit directly in one direction to get from point A to point B – often you have to hit point C or D along the way to get to the goal.  This is why I think online petitions are important – because while it might not act directly on the decision maker, it’s going to add to the general stress and energy placed on the issue.  The internet is a beautiful place because it’s all about collaboration and additive value.  And it’s participatory.  So the more people we bring along with us, the greater chances we have at being successful.

And this is why I’m going to be a colossal bore today and use twitter as the digital bullhorn it is.  Sign the petition if you think these women need to be freed.

And in my heart I’m going to be “retweeting” a prayer that they come home soon.


  1. A sincere act is never “dumb, futile or pointless.” Applaud you for speaking out on twitter! Sometimes speaking out can be tricky-not sure in your case because I didn’t see the tweets in question. Sorry to hear you had some negative responses.
    I believe that if the mental and emotional energy that fuels one’s actions matches the situation in question more of the same results. All the great leaders practiced non-violence internally and externally. Mother Teresa put it well by saying that she would not attend an anti-war rally, but would attend a peace demonstration–big difference. Anti-war rallies match the energy of what is demonstrated “against”- peace rallies match the level of peace. May all your efforts match the energy of true internal and external freedom. Will be “retweeting” a prayer that they come home soon too!

  2. Went to sign petition and saw they were released–validation for your efforts–congratulations!

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