This was disheartening, to say the least. As a lifelong Democrat and a member of the American Federation of Teachers, I have always believed in the power of representation and advocacy, but now my faith has been shaken.
My family has been struggling to gain support for Kenneth’s case. We are an ordinary American family. We have no powerful political or media connections.
In 2009, Euna and Laura were working as journalists when they were detained in North Korea for five months. They were set free only after former President Clinton went to Pyongyang.
They had an incredible advocate in former Vice President Al Gore, who started the cable network Current TV where they both worked. They also had a powerful supporter in Laura’s sister Lisa Ling, a broadcast journalist who has been on The View and National Geographic television.
My family has been using our limited resources to bring attention to my brother’s plight, but we have been discouraged by the lack of interest.
This month, former Gov. Richardson made this comment about Kenneth during his talk at the Asia Society: “Somehow, the cries for his release … (have) not been as strong as other detainees. … I don’t want you all to forget about Kenneth Bae.”
This struck home with me, especially when we received recent letters from Kenneth pleading for more efforts to bring him home. I realized it was time for me to seek your support for my brother.
Time is running out as Kenneth’s health rapidly deteriorates. The North Korean government seems open to communication. My family and I ask for your help in rallying support for this American in need and imploring our government to take urgent and direct action to bring Kenneth home. Please sign the petition started by Kenneth’s son Jonathan at www.change.org/FreeKenNow.
Terri Chung teaches at North Seattle Community College and lives in Edmonds, Wash., with her husband and two children. She wrote this for the Seattle Times.