On March 31, 2007, Yeonmi Park and her mother escaped North Korea. Yeonmi was only 13 years old when her search for freedom began. They walked over the Yalu river to arrive in China, but this was not their final stop. After traveling the Gobi Desert, making their way to the Mongolian border, they eventually took a place and arrived in South Korea. Yeonmi’s father followed in their footsteps, only to succumb to cancer a few months later.
“My father died without knowing even this kind of democracy exists in the world,” she said in an interview with Reason TV. She went on to say, if she even had the food that Americans throw away, she would have never wished to even leave North Korea.
Despite people who try to call her story false, Yeonmi swears on the authenticity of her journey. Yeonmi claims any inconsistencies in her Amazon.com released autobiographical book “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” are there for a reason. She simply wants to protect the secrecy of family members that still live in North Korea. She says some other errors in her writing are attributed to her lack of understanding of the English language.
Doubters, such as Pyongyang, who produced a video attempting to prove she falsified information, simply believe her story is too compelling. Yeonmi may have escaped the grasp of North Korea, but the danger still exists for the nation of people she left behind. Accurately telling the world of the struggles of the people who live inside the worlds most secretive nation is an important roll in outing North Korea’s constant human rights abuses and political persecution.
Yeonmi said on the New York Times interview, “I know the truth of North Korea…The oppression and their tragedy. It cannot be silenced,” in response to those that try to discredit her incredible story.