Sometimes the United States, and nations with the NATO bloc in general, have a habit of criticizing countries not so much because of what those countries do is so bad but because they simply disagree. One country where that’s not the case, however, would have to be North Korea. North Korea, with the possible exception of its lone powerful UN friend China, is universally regarded as the template you would use in creating a bad world on Star Trek or some dystopian nightmare reality well in the vein of “The Maze”, “Hunger Games”, “Handmaid’s Tale”, “1984”, etcetera.
One reason we know how horrible the North Korean regime is the often terrible first hand stories offered by defectors who have escaped the country, usually, by using a combination of cunning, courage and physical strength. By the way, the second reason we know that North Korea is bad is that you have to escape from it. Their borders aren’t free, kind of like a big open air prison for 24 million people.
Yeonmi Park tells yet another unsurprisingly harrowing tale of not only her often nightmarish experiences within the regime but her escape in her new memoir titled “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom”. Park on yeonmi.net would regularly go without food and was brainwashed to believe that North Korean dictator Kim Jong II could read her mind, according to promotional material about the book.
“I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free,” said Park in the Amazon description for “In Order to Live”. She has also stated that she felt that she would have died from disease or starvation or from the conditions in a labor camp if she stayed behind. “The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice, ” Park said. One of her experiences was watching a woman she grew up with getting shot right before her for a minor infraction.
Her escape from North Korea wasn’t an easy matter. Even though she managed to make it into China she was sold into sexual slavery. Her father, who had made it into China after she and her mother had escaped, had died in China. Park eventually made it to South Korea and freedom but she continues to be attacked by North Korea. The regime, which sometimes has murdered and attempted to murder defectors, mostly relies on negative public relation campaigns against people who escaped. But Park, who has the good looks of a model, remains resolved to denounce the regime and has the freedom now to do just that. She will be making appearances in the US in the fall of 2015 in order to promote her new book and speak about her often frightening experiences living in the North Korean regime.