Monday, July 12, 2010

Boston Globe refers to "a glimmer of hope" in Aijalon Mahli Gomes case

Hmm... the guy has been sentenced to eight years in a North Korean prison, threatened that could go longer because of the warlike belligerence of the US, and he has reportedly committed suicide, but his hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe, sees "a glimmer of hope."

Actually what they're talking about is the same thing I mentioned earlier, that Pyongyang does not want the death of this guy on their watch, so like with Evan Hunziker, they may be keen to release him very soon.

From the BG (or should we say BoGlo):
The contrast between the speedy resolution of the case involving the Russian spies and Gomes’s plight in North Korea reflects the dramatic difference between the improving US-Russian relationship and the worsening tensions between the isolated North Korean regime and the rest of the world.

Now, however, one North Korea expert says there may be a glimmer of hope for Gomes in what he sees as recent signals from North Korea and the United States that they want to move beyond the high-stakes confrontation over the March sinking of a South Korean naval vessel that killed 46 sailors.

Sung-Yoon Lee, an adjunct professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said yesterday that North Korea had responded with restraint to a UN statement on Friday that condemned the sinking but stopped short of blaming the North directly.

“I am usually not an optimist with North Korea, but it may be a positive sign in the sense that North Korea is indicating it really wants to release him for the right price, whatever that may be,’’ Lee said.
Ah, note the wording: "For the right price." Anyone who thinks that the hijinks of Robert Park and Aijalon Mahli Gomes (or Laura Ling, Euna Lee, and Mitch Koss) don't come with a price tag in terms of real financial cost or political capital is kidding themselves.

And even if Mr Park or Mr Gomes says, "Don't rescue me," really  how can Washington do anything else, particularly now that we get news of Mr Gomes's suicide attempt. Unless that is a ruse... Hmm...

Anyway, I am not making light of Mr Gomes's plight, even if he got into it all on his own. When he eventually gets back, he must be watched carefully by medical and mental health professionals and those he loves. We do not want another tragedy like that of Evan Hunziker.

Here is the English-language edition of the KCNA report about the suicide attempt. The Chosŏnŏ report is here.

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