Living in America, it is hard to imagine that there exists an entire country of people who don’t know the meaning, nor the concept of the word “freedom.” So it is for the countless millions born under the dictator regime in North Korea. Though not in the public eye, there exists a holocaust being perpetrated against these people complete with concentration camps and famine. Recently a book has been published by one young girl who was able to escape the tragedy in her country. Yeonmi Park, who wrote the Amazon best-selling, “In Order To Live; A North Korean Girls Journey to Freedom,” that outline the horrible ordeal that was perpetrated against her and her family as she sought to escape North Korea.
Yeonmi admits that she never thought of freedom while living in her home country, she states that all they could ever think about was where their next meal would come from. She admits to have eaten everything from Dragon Fly’s to grasshoppers to flowers in order to survive. She was taught from an early age not to speak about anything regarding the government or those in power. At a young age she witnessed her friend’s mother publicly executed for having watched a Hollywood movie.
When Yeonmi was just 13 her and her mother took their leave of North Korea in an attempt to reach China that was on March 31st, 2007. She and her mother crossed the Gobi Desert on foot in an attempt to reach Mongolia as a refuge it was a year’s long journey that landed her in China where she suffered untold abuses before finally reaching South Korea via an airplane.
She describes the difficulty she had being in China as a North Korean refugee. Because they had no official status nor protections, her and her mother were subjected to consistent abuse, starvation and the nagging allure of suicide in order to escape the ordeal. Although her father later crossed the border to join them, he died shortly after of untreated cancer. Yeonmi Park describes their burying of her father as a criminal as they had to bury him in the middle of the night n secret.
The North Korean government has gone out of its way to publish propaganda about Yeonmi in an attempt to discredit her story of defecting. She claims that any inaccuracies in her story are do only to her difficulty with the English language. She describes the sexual abuse her and her mother suffered in China in an interview with Reason T.V.