“Freedom” is not a word often associated with the widely reviled Asian nation of North Korea. It’s known for acting rashly and for its infamous veil of secrecy over any operations or life inside it’s heavily guarded border. This sets the tone for the incredible story of Yeonmi Park, a young woman from North Korea who successfully escaped with her mother in 2007 at the age of 13.
Park put her tribulations to paper in the Amazon released book “In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey To Freedom.” It tells the story of Park and her family, gives a rare look into average life in North Korea, and shares the inhuman difficulties North Koreans face at the hands of a madman. After crossing the border into China, Park and her mother faced a journey of thousands of miles, barely surviving the arduous path. Park faced incessant abuse, including a horrific rape, as well as starvation and death.
According to Park, the journey was worth fighting the odds, although she’s not without her critics. Inside North Korea, the origin of the brunt of Yeonmi’s critics, she’s been labeled a spy and a traitor, along with her mother and father, who died from untreated cancer shortly after crossing into China.
Park’s story is representative of the perilous circumstances that millions of North Koreans experience every day. The bravery she’s exhibited and her incredible story are testaments to the strong will of human beings and to the necessity for change in a country synonymous with human rights violations. More info posted on the New York Times.