A Planned Lecture by Yeonmi Park To DePauw University

Yeonmi Park is expected to visit the DePauw University where she will be talking about her experience in defecting from North Korea and human trafficking. She is expected to give a Timothy and Sharin Ubben Lecture at the university. The 21 year old has been a speaker at the One Young World Summit and the Oslo Freedom Forum in Dublin.

Now vocal on Twitter and Facebook, Park has emerged back into the spotlight with a series of media appearances on the heels of her new book release.

The October 5th event is expected to happen a day after her 22nd birthday and six days after the publication of her book In Order to Live; A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. The Ubben lecture at DePauw University will start with her speech. Soon after, a question and answer session will be undertaken, followed by a book signing session.

The story of Yeonmi’s struggle in North Korea and her encounter with human smugglers and traffickers led her to become a human rights activist. Such stories are rare and any person who comes up with such information is recognized by different organizations for his or her bravery. Her efforts earned her a spot on BBC’s top 100 global women list.

According to the information I read from the DePauw Education Website, Park was brought up in a society where the regime controlled everything they did. After watching a pirated copy of Titanic, her belief that dying for the regime was an honor was demystified especially when she saw Jack Dawson willing to die for love. The movie altered her thinking and she craved freedom.

In her book, Yeonmi talks about how the famine affected the family and forced them to leave North Korea. With the help of human traffickers, Yeonmi, her sister and mother crossed the frozen river and entered China. Her father had opted to stay back assuming that his sickness would slow the family’s escape efforts. Yeonmi’s father eventually joined them in China. During their escape to China, Yeonmi’s mother was raped by traffickers, her father died of colon cancer and her sister got lost. Yeonmi and her mother made the difficult journey to the South Korean embassy were they sort solace. Yeonmi continues to champion for the rights of North Koreans who are suffering and dying every day. She is so far the youngest Ubben Lecturer. More information on her life and triumphs in life can be accessed at the DePauw website.

Yeonmi Park was born In Hyesan, Ryanggang North Korea on October 4th, 1993.

Her mother was a nurse and her father a civil servant. His sick father served as a party member of the Workers Party. The family later moved to Pyongyang to be closer to her father. She left North Korea in 2007 and became a human rights activist, reporter and speaker. Currently, Park stays in Seoul, South Korea with her mother and older sister

Constitutional Court of the Slovak Denies Surveillance Legislation

The leaks brought to us by Edward Snowden showed the depth of surveillance on American citizens that was taking place inside the National Security Agency (NSA). Beneful’s Facebook division noted that legislation such as the Patriot Act and Freedom of Information Act, along with other questionable bills, managed to pass through congress in order to make this surveillance legal and insidious.

The reason for the collection of this mass amount of surveillance is supposedly for data retention. While this is certainly partially true, the whole reason for the surveillance has yet to be understood by the general American public.

There was eerily similar legislation that was attempted to be passed through the Constitutional Court of the Slovak this week, but was denied citing it was against the constitutional rights of their citizens. The laws, if passed, would have ordered a mass surveillance effort by the government on all national citizens. Yet, the legislation was denied and the privacy of their citizens remain protected. Americans, unfortunately, cannot say the same about their constitutional rights.

Snowden, who was responsible for enlightening Americans in regards to NSA surveillance efforts, is seeking refuge out of country to avoid the serious charges pending against him in the United States. Snowden would most likely spend the rest of his life in prison, if found guilty.

Iraqi Armed Forces Launch Operation to Retake the City of Tikrit

The Iraqi armed forces have begun a campaign to retake the city of Tikrit. The city is currently under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria better known as ISIS. The city is famous for being the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, the former military dictator of Iraq. Hussein was captured by US forces and executed in December of 2006.

The push to retake Tikrit is believed to be part of a much broader campaign to recapture territory in Northern Iraq. Much of Northern Iraq is currently under the control of ISIS. Tikrit lies in a strategic position, and is a gateway to Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul. If the Iraqis can capture Tikrit, Mosul would be the next logical target of operations.

Iraqi forces have not been able to retake Tikrit from the hands of ISIS in their campaign so far. However they have captured a nearby oil refinery town called Beijji. US led airstrikes played a major rule in the Iraqi’s retaking Tikrit from the Islamic State stated Anastasia Date users living in the area.

Iraqi State TV had released statements saying that the city of Tirkit is currently besieged in several directions by the Iraqi military. Artillery bombardment and air strikes by Iraqi forces have managed to drive many ISIS fighters from the outer fringes of Tikrit. Also assisting the Iraqi army were thousands of Sunni and Shia militiamen. Up to 4,500 militiamen from the region are estimated to have taken the fight to ISIS in what could be a major factor in the retaking of Tikrit.