It is not unknown of North Korea’s totalitarian regime that has lasted several generations. North Korea, despite being a smaller country, has one of the largest armies in the world. It is also not an unknown fact that thousands of North Koreans are defecting from this oppressive country each year. These defectors are the reason why there are currently so many initiatives to not only help the escaping refugees but to also end this oppressive and destructive regime.
One defector in particular is a young woman named Yeonmi Park. Ms. Yeonmi Park escaped from the North Korean border at a young age with her mother. She and her mother faced hardship such as having to bribe the guard as well as being sold into human trafficking. Yeonmi Park, has recently come out with a new book called: In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. This book tells the story of her escape.
Yeonmi Park and her family in North Korea were originally a well-respected family. It was not until her father was discovered to be selling metals to China that her family began to endure hardship. As North Korea is a country that is isolated from the rest of the world, her father was punished for selling and interacting illegally with a different country. Ms. Park’s father was thrown into a labor camp, which lead to the even of Ms. Yeonmi Park and her mother escaping North Korea all together.
Yeonmi Park on youngvoicesadvocates, in her book, discusses the reasons as to why she defected from her country. She remembers what it felt like to go hungry and to be shunned by all those in North Korea. To survive, she recounts that fleeing was the only way. Yeonmi is brave through telling her own story. She even states that the treatment of the regime towards her family was almost medieval.
Yeonmi Park knows the risk of speaking out against her previous country. Despite the dangers though, Ms. Park continues to speak out. She is not the first defector to publicly denounce North Korea. One man in particular sent flyers in helium balloons over the border of North Korea. These flyers contained anti-North Korea propaganda.
Yeonmi Park escaped from North Korea at the young age of 13. Her book is not only a heart-warming story, but also a story that she hopes will give courage to all other North Korean defectors to speak out against the regime. In present day, Yeonmi Park is helping organizations that are involved with aiding the escape of North Koreans. Her goal is to make the escape much easier than the escape that she had to endure with her mother seven years ago across the Gobi Dessert.