POST: Politics – Pwn3d! – “Journos are Not Heroes?”

August 5, 2009

Welcome to Politics – Pwn3d! In case you’re not aware, ‘pwn’ (variations: ‘pwnd,’ ‘pwn3d’) is an extremely nerdy, slightly outdated tech-y word that means ‘owned.’ [Owned in this case denoting mastered, appropriate, conquer, gain ownership, etc] Therefore, ‘pwn3r’ means ‘owner,’ or one who has mastered such and such.

I’ve never done a serious one of these…well, since I was a nerdy young kid in LA writing on Xanga.  Back then I was KitCat, then I was LaurenWntsaBagel, now it’s all about the politics, baby.

I’m not even going to START on this whole Laura Ling and Euna Lee thing though.  That’s all I lived, breathed, and even woke up to. Personally, I am torn on the issue. Before knowing the ins and outs of the issue, I felt like most everyone else felt – angry that they were arrested, shocked that there wasn’t more media coverage (a colleague of mine, Katty Kay of BBC, even brought it up on Bill Maher‘s late night show, asking “If these were two blonde women, of course there’d be much more of a fuss made about it in the press here”), and hopeful that they would be released.

Journalists must be more aware of the danger into which they put themselves and the probability that they will be used as bargaining chips if arrested by a rogue regime, failed state, or anything in between.  This struck me – and struck a cord with me. But I have yet to see which opinion I side with more.  As a (budding) journalist, the chance to catch a scoop about North Korean trafficked women (the topic of Lee and Ling’s report) would be very enticing as well (although probably not as much as the possibility of not spending time in a NKn gulag). It seems that only Christiane Amanpour somehow remains unscathed in dangerous situations – who I love btw, if it must be said.

We have yet to see what the political outcome of this release will be.  Many, including noted North Korea expert (and fellow Georgetown alumn), Victor Cha, are saying the trip was worth it, even that it is a sign that broader military talks will begin, perhaps even in the highly coveted bilateral context that the U.S. continues to deny an expectant North Korea. However, even more are taking the other stance – that this ‘humanitarian’ effort on the part of Bill Clinton (facilitated for weeks by White House and Congressional staff) will undermine the current hard policy that the Obama administration has been taking towards the dear leader’s provocative actions, “[running] against the dominant tone” and is ultimately “a significant propaganda victory for North Korea.”

Time will tell what the official meaning of this will be, but this morning in Nairobi, Secretary Hillary Clinton reiterated the administration’s enduring stance that ” there would be a chance to discuss bilateral matters with the North Koreans within that regional context [the Six-Party Talks] and that is still the offer today.”

We will wait…patience will be needed.

[side note: I guess I did ‘start’ on the whole Lee/Ling story…and it ended up being the content of my entire first blog entry. oh well, you live and learn not to count your chickens…blah blah blah]


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