North Korean Girl Shares Tales of Terror, Hope, and Escape

January 21st, 2016

Yeonmi Park has bright eyes and a heart of gold. She hopes to make a difference in the lives of others, particularly those who live in North Korea. Yeonmi, herself, barely escaped from those hardships that are now a lifetime behind her. Yeonmi’s parents planned to hire smugglers to guide them from North Korea to China. Her father was a civil servant who began to smuggle metal to save the money needed to pay their guides. He was arrested and imprisoned, and forced the family into a state of poverty. “We were often given a frozen potato to eat,” Yeonmi said. Yeonmi and her mother left her father behind. Her older sister Eunmi decided to leave earlier without them. The pair traveled through the wilderness. The perilous terrain and the cold made the journey particularly dangerous. Yeonmi and her mother did not realize that they would not be faced with the worst danger until they reached China. “I watched as my mother was raped,” Yeonmi recalled. “She sacrificed herself in my place.” Yeonmi and her mother were sold into slavery where Yeonmi would be forced into marriage. She and her mother were freed after several years had passed. The two vowed to complete the journey they had started. They eventually found their freedom in South Korea. “My father never knew such democracy existed,” Yeonmi said on The Guardian, speaking of the South Korean government. “This is a paradise, a heaven. Kim Jong-Un waits to kill 25 million people. People joke about his weight and his haircut. But why? To me he is no joke.” Yeonmi had difficulty adjusting to living in South Korea. She worked low-end jobs before enrolling in the criminal justice program at a local university. Yeonmi went on to become a human rights activist and wrote a book about her ordeal. “When China sends refugees back to North Korea, they are sending them to their death,” Yeonmi said on youngvoicesadvocates, solemnly. “We cannot allow this. We cannot allow North Korea to destroy its people.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.