North Korea is internationally famous for being a country that is isolated from the rest of the world. On the news, people here horror stories of the tragedies that take place as a result of North Korea’s regime. 32 year old, Kim Jong Un, despite being young, has continued the 70 years long reign of force and brutality.
One human rights activist has an interesting story that involves North Korea. This human rights activist is Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector and human rights activist. Ms. Park escaped the North Korean borders at the early age of 13. Despite her early age, Ms. Park has stories to tell of her experience that continue to increase the horror of what goes on behind the border of North Korea.
Yeonmi Park is now 21 years old and a public speaker against the brutality of North Korea. At a young age, Ms. Park remembers her parents telling her not to whisper any opinion of hers for fear of having the mice and the birds hear her. While growing up, her family was allowed certain privileges in North Korea up until her father was arrested for selling metals to China. Ms. Park’s father was thrown into a labor camp and his family was marked to be associated with a prisoner. This labeling caused Ms. Park and her mother to starve and eventually have the urgency to leave North Korea.
Leaving North Korea was not an easy task. Luckily, Ms. Park and her mother knew someone who could help them and smuggle them across the river. The guards on duty were ordered to shoot anyone who attempted to cross. After fleeing the North Korean border and making it into China, both of the women faced many hardships including becoming separated.
The story that Ms. Park tells is especially disturbing not only for the hardship that she has faced but also for her daily life in North Korea. Unlike in the Western countries, the people of North Korea do not have a say in what they wear, watch, or even talk about. The law does not protect the rights of the 24 million people that live there, instead it protects the rights of the Dictator, Kim Jong Un. Ms. Park remembers distinctly that to learn math in North Korea would be done through several examples. One example would be if there were ten Americans and five of them were killed, how many Americans were left.
The people of North Korea have grown up without any knowledge of the outer world. This is why human rights activist, Hannah Song has played a major role in assisting the tens of thousands of North Korean refugees that are escaping the regime. Ms. Song has been helping these refugees with the after affects of escaping the border which includes food, hospitality, and assimilation. Ms. Song and Ms. Park’s jobs and stories are inspiring to the population because of the fact that they are truly helping those who are less fortunate than those in the Western world.