Posts in Category: Social Issues

Yeonmi Park’s Daring Escape From Bondage To Freedom

Yeonmi Park, author of the book “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom”, has a compelling story to tell, describing her first hand experiences of what life is like in the dictatorship of North Korea. Yeonmi begins telling her story on The Reason by describing her first steps out of North Korea towards the end of Winter in 2015. She attempted to flee the country under the cover of darkness, late at night, with her mother by crossing the frozen Yalu River. She arrived in China, with very little notion of what she would do next. Yeonmi was only a thirteen year old girl when she made her daring escape, and that night as she crossed the frozen Yalu River, her years-long story of desperate struggle to survive began. Her path over the coming years would take her all the way across China, over the vast Gobi desert, then to the Mongolian border, until finally reaching her main destination of South Korea by airplane. One of the most interesting and compelling things to me about Yeonmi Park’s story is that she say she had no concept of what freedom even was as she was trying to escape. For someone born into a strict dictatorship like North Korea, where non-approved ideologies are suppressed, and people are told what to think, this shouldn’t be surprising, but I still found it so. Yeonmi says her chief motivation to escape was simply lack of food…she needed to get out to survive, plain and simple. She admitted that if she had even just had access to the food that Americans throw away in the garbage, she would never have even attempted to flee North Korea. That to me is very revealing about the state of things, if not in North Korea as a whole, at least in many parts. Yeonmi Park’s captivating story has grabbed the attention of thousands of readers around the world, and will likely continue to do so for some time. For a more detailed version of the story, and a description of some of the controversy surrounding Yeonmi’s story, check out this article on Reason.com