The North Korean oppressive regimes of the past decades had relative ease of success in gagging the media and brainwashing the people. The country is notorious for its poor international relations policies and has become isolated from the rest of the world. Over the years, numerous reports of human rights violations in North Korea have surfaced. The government perpetrates them on its people. It is for this reason that one defector, 21-year-old Yeonmi Park refers to her country as the darkest environment on the planet.
Park has for a long time been at loggerheads with the government of North Korea. She has taken the war front in the fight against human rights violations and injustices on the North Korean government. Old habits die hard, the government in retaliation has set about discrediting her testimonials and claims from other defectors. However, her campaigns have only gained new followers and more voices.
Yeonmi Park’s turbulent journey dates back into her early childhood. Born in a poor neighborhood, her family had little to get by. They were further tortured and starved by the dictators of North Korea to the point of fleeing the country. She narrates countless ordeals of helplessness, despair and betrayal as a thirteen-year-old on the run from North Korea. Her families went through capture, blackmail, torture and violence on a daily basis. While on the run in China, Yeonmi lost her father to lung cancer while her sister separated from them. She would later face the trauma of rape levelled against her mother in her presence.
North Korea with all its nuclear might and a very charged army are increasingly unable to deal with the criticism Fronted by the diminutive Yeonmi Park. She has gotten used to being shamed and labelled a defector and traitor. In contrast, her decision to speak up against the evils in her country have inspired a worldwide movement. The movement has exposed the despicable and inhuman acts done by the North Korean government over the years. Because of her efforts, the world today is questioning what goes on in the territory.
Yeonmi is still a student of Criminal Justice at Dongguk University in South Korea where she still lives with her family. She prominently features in in radio and TV shows, magazines and newspapers. She also writes and publishes articles concerning the plight of women and children in North Korean societies. Yeonmi is never shy of the public eye. She volunteers with human rights groups and also acts on ambassadorial roles as a young voice for women and youth around the world.
Yeonmi presents herself to the world as a brave girl. She admits that growing up in the sub-human condition in North Korea gave her a wrong impression about life. Her escape in search for freedom is a journey she is grateful she went through. The same experience makes her life story connect with her global audience. This is just the beginning for Yeonmi and her human rights movement. She will not stop until her people are free.