Yeonmi Park weaves a tale of strength, character, and hope in “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom”, her Amazon released book that chronicles her story as she sought freedom and became a North Korean defector. Her book details her entire story from her first steps outside of North Korea in March of 2007 through her amazing trek crossing the frozen Yalu River along side her mother under the cover of darkness at night through her many trials and tribulations as she found her way to South Korea and freedom.
Her story details her amazing and frightening journey as she was subjected to abuse, starvation, thoughts of suicide, constant struggles, and the loss of her father who passed away from untreated cancer shortly after he crossed the border to join her.
Park’s tale of survival is important in many ways and has captivated the minds and hearts of thousands of readers. Park details her life of oppression and difficulty growing up in North Korea, a place shrouded in mystery and questionable ethics. The country’s leader, Kim Jong II, is treated as a God-like figure who reigns over omniscient minions, but it is well known the country feeds the world with propaganda as its citizens suffer from hunger, depression, and a brutal dictatorship. Her father was once a successful civil servant who served the Working Party, but was sentenced to 17 years in a labor camp for smuggling metal to help pay for food for his starving family. He was tortured and lived in harsh conditions where he became ill while his Park, her mother, and her sister were relegated to the margins of society as part of the family’s punishment for her father’s crime.
Park’s book details her fight for freedom as she was trafficked when she entered China, her mother’s sacrifice to prevent the rape of her daughter, and both women being sold. After serving as a sex slave, eventually her captors released her and Park and her mother traversed the Gobi Desert on foot as they headed to South Korea.
Pyongyang has not been pleased that Park has come forward and shed light on the country’s conditions and has fought to try to discredit her. They have recently released videos according to NK News that attempt to discredit her claims that her homeland is anything less than ideal, and even gone so far to accuse Park and her mother of being agents of the United States. Park insists her story is true and hopes her story can bring light to the horrible living conditions forced on the citizens of North Korea, the difficulty in trying to escape the country, and bring hope to others who want to flee the country to create a better life and finally experience freedom. Information obtained from an article originally published at Reason.