Girl’s Heart-wrenching Story of Unimaginable Oppression Is Plea for Help
Yeonmi Park, a North Korean refugee, has stunned the world with her story of unimaginable oppression and escape.
Yeonmi grew up in a world where the people are not allowed to think for themselves. There is no concept of having a favorite color, it is chosen for you. Every moment of your day is focused on what you are told to think, say, and do.
Yeonmi recalls her mother saying, “Remember, Yeonmi-ya, even when you think you’re alone, the birds and mice can hear you whisper.”
In 1994, Kim Jong-Il came to power, a year after Yeonmi was born. Under his control, North Korean’s face cold and constant hunger. Her father was arrested for illegal trade when she was 8 and the family lost their home and were shunned. Yeonmi and her older sister were forced to eat grass and bugs in order to survive.
When she was 13, Yeonmi and her mother found someone to help them escape and follow her 16 year old sister who had already escaped to China. The path to freedom was not easy. The pair were captured by Chinese soldiers and sold into slavery where they faced non-stop sexual attacks. Yeonmi had to agree to be her rescuer’s mistress in order to save her mother and help her father escape. Still they fought to find freedom. Eventually a group of Christian missionaries helped Yeonmi and her Mother escape through the Gobi dessert in Mongolia. Even still, they carried knives so that if they were caught they would be able to commit suicide instead of the return to North Korea. Sadly, her father died from untreated cancer before he could see full freedom with his family.
In 2015, Yeonmi Park had her autobiography published, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. Now she repays her freedom by raising awareness of the situation in North Korea. Her belief is that nothing will change until the North Korean people themselves realize that they are indeed slaves and that there is such a thing as individualism.
“We need to focus less on the regime and more on the people who are being forgotten.”
WATCH: Girl’s Heart-wrenching Story of Oppression In N.Korea
Since becoming an internet sensation with her story of escape, Yeonmi has dedicated herself to being an activist for human rights, specifically a voice for those in North Korea. Now living in New York, she studies economics at Columbia University in hopes of having a “normal job” and life. She has since met and married her husband, Ezekiel, and is on her path to finding personal happiness.
“… I will not give up anything because of what I went through!,” she says. “I think I deserve and everyone deserves all of that. I’m very ambitious to be happy.”
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