Euna Lee - Still a Mom in Captivity

Sitting in captivity halfway around the world, a mom is still a mom -- cordinating schedules, thinking about what's best for her child, and worrying that her husband will forget something!
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I wanted to share a story about Euna Lee, who along with Laura Ling, has been held in N. Korea for 4 months. As a mother, the story has been haunting me since I heard it. It haunts me because I can totally relate to Euna's actions.

Several weeks ago, we had Euna’s husband, Michael, over for dinner. I have never met Euna, and it was the first time I met Michael. Because of my brother’s close friendship with Laura Ling, it seemed natural to connect with Euna’s family, as well.

Michael is wonderful – vivacious, smart, funny. It was the first day, since this ordeal started, that he had left their four-year-old daughter, Hana. She was spending a night with his father. It was also the first time– at that time, the girls had been in captivity for about three months – that he was alone and could process his feelings. As other parents will relate, we often put aside our own emotions to focus on our children’s emotions.

Michael chuckled as he told us about an urgent message he had received from Euna.

Euna had asked her guards if she could pass her message onto the Swedish Ambassador, who has been the girls' only source of contact and information. (The Swedish ambassador has met Laura and Euna - separately - only four times in their four months of captivity. The girls are not being held together.)

She was granted permission by the N. Korean officials.

The Swedish Ambassador then passed on the message to the US State Department, who then contacted Michael.

Euna wanted to make sure that Michael had sent in the registration form for Hana for summer school. Euna had chosen the Korean immersion school for her daughter, but was scared her husband would forget to send in the form!

Hearing this story brought tears to my eyes. Sitting in captivity halfway around the world, a mom is still a mom. Coordinating schedules, thinking about what’s best for her child, and worrying that her husband will forget something!

As a fellow mom, I am asking all the moms out there to pass on this story and take action by signing this online petition. The US government, through Hillary Clinton, has formally asked for amnesty and it is important we show public support. You can learn more about Laura and Euna at

In two weeks, Michael and Hana are joining my family for a trip to Disneyland to celebrate my daughter's five-year-old birthday. Secretly, I am hoping they don’t show up. I am praying that instead Hana will be cuddling and reuniting with her mom.

What can you do to help?

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Mallika Chopra is the founder of, a site focused on personal, social and global wellness

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