Word is out that his North Korean captors permitted Aijalon Mahli Gomes a telephone call home today. North Korea also said that Aijalon was visited by by a Swedish diplomat to whom he delivered a “petition.” A spokesman for the U.S. State Department announced that the developments are a “welcome gesture”, but that the U.S. is calling for Aijalon to be released on “humanitarian grounds.”
Looking for an account of what was said during the phone call home, all I find is this from the Associated Press:
Thaleia Schlesinger, a spokeswoman for the family of Aijalon Mahli Gomes, confirmed Friday that Gomes spoke with his mother on the phone from North Korea.
Schlesinger said Gomes’ mother was very grateful to have the opportunity to speak with her son and hear his voice. Schlesinger said the woman was also grateful to the North Korean government for allowing him to call.
The spokeswoman declined to say what was discussed during the call or give details on Gomes’ condition.
Look, I know how the game goes. The bully must be treated with respect. The strong man must be appeased. Yet, as we enter the rest of another Sabbath, I can’t help but wonder: What if the whole world stopped…and listened? What if everyone who is tired of violence, hate, unjust imprisonment and the misery of the masses in favor of the luxury of the few running unchecked on the Earth–what if they said, “No more.” What if they shouted for freedom and equality? I’m thinking that such a yell would bring down the oppressors as sure as the walls of Jericho fell, never to be rebuilt.
When I think of Aijalon’s mother, having to express her gratitude to those who hold her son in a mean and gruesome imprisonment–lest the tormentor be riled–I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to stand up and be counted as one of those who love freedom and justice for all.
Rather, I’ll look to the Shabbat for healing. I’ll look to the Creator for wisdom. And I will look inside myself to see where I have been the captor, where I have been the jailer, where I have been the one treating a brother or sister unfairly. And I will seek forgiveness for my own acts of malice.
May God bless Aijalon Mahli Gomes, his family, the people of North Korea… may God bless you and me.