The concept of ‘freedom’ is, at its core, a completely foreign idea for the citizens of North Korea. Yeonmi Park is the most famous defector of the oppressive country and she has taken to writing in order to describe what it was like to grow up in the world’s most oppressive country before escaping and journeying through hell and back to find out what freedom really was. Since her defection from North Korea Yeonmi has become something of a target to Pyongyang and the rest of the North Korean government. Park has come under fire for her story and it seems like her old country is desperate to tear her down, according to a report done by Reason.com.
Growing up in North Korea Yeonmi Park had few positive things to say about the experience. Instead much of her early life was steeped in the sort of paranoia that only the constant threat of death or imprisonment could bring on. Park describes growing up in a country where even the walls seemed to have ears when it came to talking ill about the government. Park recounts seeing neighbors dragged into the street and executed for simply breaking the smallest of infractions, rules that wouldn’t even have consequences in the United States.
When her father was hauled off into a labor camp for smuggling it marked the time that Park and her mother would need to flee the country. Though they had always been on the brink of starvation while never avoiding abuse, this time was different. So Park and her mother teamed up with a human trafficker and made their way to China and to where they assumed freedom would be found. Instead, Park was summarily sold into human trafficking and for years she would have to fight simply to survive in a world that didn’t treat her like a person.
Now Pyongyang is producing videos in order to derail any attempt at sympathy for Yeonmi Park. The North Korean government is trying to paint Park as a liar and a celebrity defector looking to cash in. Unfortunately for Pyongyang, Park’s story has risen above all.