While many people would be horrified to learn about someone having a harsh upbringing, time and time again has shown that people who overcome hardships from their upbringing tend to have a much stronger character than those who have had a childhood that is closer to ideal. Yeonmi Park is one of those that have shown themselves to turn such a negative upbringing into something positive. She has not only survived, but she has taken the time to learn about what happened around her that caused these problems for her. Yeonmi Park has also endured the loss of many people close to her on her escape to freedom. Given her experiences in North Korea and being trafficked, she has a lot of insight that could go into bringing justice to the North Koreans. For one thing, she understands how serious Americans and other nations should take Kim Jong-Un. She warns Americans that he is no joke. Most of her life in North Korea was spent under the rule of Un’s father, Kim Jong-il. When she was living in North Korea, she was convinced that Kim Jong-il knew her thoughts. Her mother would scold her Father whenever he said something bad about Kim Jong-il. When the famine hit, this put forth a chain reaction of events that would eventually lead to Yeonmi Park appearing on The Guardian in front of millions of people during the 2014 One Young World Summit. This is where she would introduce to the world the true horrors of North Korea. Her story was so compelling that it went viral. As she told her story, many people were in tears as they listened. She herself fought real hard to compose herself. As many people took an interest in her life story, Yeonmi Park has received the opportunity to tell her story in book form called In Order to Live. Her book is available at bookstores everywhere. Her book can also be downloaded for e-readers and tablets. The story that has put her into the spotlight and given her a lot of attention has been met with a lot of controversy. One issue that they are discussing is how to deal with the North Korean regime. The original story can be read on Reason.com.
Yeonmi Park was born in North Korea on the 4th of October 1993. She had an elder sister called Eunmi. Park’s father was employed as a civil servant at the town hall and her mother worked as a nurse for North Korea’s army. Her father moved to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, where he had discovered the lucrative business of metal smuggling. He was later imprisoned and subjected to years of hard labor for his role in the metal smuggling trade.
Escape to China
When Park’s father was released, he developed a plan to smuggle his family out of North Korea. By this time, Eunmi had already moved to China. On March 30, 2007, Park fled with her mother into China assisted by human traffickers who led them through the Chinese border. Her father was left behind due to his illness. After moving into China, Park and
her mother settled in the Chinese province of Jilin. During their stay in China, they were not able to find Eunmi and therefore assumed that she had died.
While in China, an unfortunate incidence occurred, one of the people who helped them escape threatened to expose them if Park failed to sleep with him. Park’s mother intervened and offered herself instead. Later on in October, Park arranged to have her father smuggled into China. It was here that it was discovered that he was suffering from colon cancer. A few months later, he died at the age of 45 years. The family could
not mourn him or give him a decent burial because of fears that they would draw the attention of the authorities. Therefore, they buried his remains at a nearby mountain.
After the death of her father, Park moved her mother to a nearby Christian shelter headed by South Korean and Chinese missionaries. It is here that they got help to flee to South Korea by passing through Mongolia. When they arrived at the Mongolian border, Park and her mother were stopped by guards who threatened to deport them to China. Without any other option, Park and her mother planned to commit suicide but the guards
sympathized with them and led them to a detention site at Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Bator. On 1st April 2009, Park and her mother were accompanied to the Chinggis Khaan airport and sent to Seoul.
Ever since her escape, Park has spoken publicly on yeonmi.net and written about her time in North Korea. She has published her stories in the Washington Post and has also done interviews with the Guardian. Park has worked as a volunteer in programs like the Freedom Factory Corporation in South Korea. She also joined the LINK (Liberty In North Korea) an NGO that is in the business of rescuing refugees of North Korea from China and sending them to the United States and South Korea.
Park also appeared as a co-host for a talk show, Casey Lartigue, which discusses issues affecting North Korea and refugees who escape from the country. Park offered herself to take part in this program in order to increase the awareness of the plight affecting North Korean refugees.