Yeonmi Park escaped from North Korea with her mother as a teen, but her stories of North Korea shock the west with their honesty and brutality. The Orwellian existence of nearly everyone in North Korea is shocking in and of itself, but the starvation and violence are something that is often missed in the west. This article explores how Yeonmi Park describes her life in North Korea before she was able to escape.
#1: Barely Living Above A Level Of Subsistence
The level of subsistence for most people in the world is changed by the socioeconomic situation where they live. Nice areas of the world have high standards of living, and poor areas have a low quality of living. Investment programs help build up depressed areas, but all of North Korea is kept in a state of poverty by the government. Yeonmi Park of theguardian.com explains that all the citizens of the country are forced to live at a level near starvation. She ate grass as a child to survive, and her escape from North Korea was no better.
#2: Violence Oppression
The government in North Korea uses information to keep its people in a constant state of suspense. The citizens of North Korea are taught that the rest of the world is unclean, and a wave of information tells the citizens of the country only what the government wants them to hear. New reports are false, and any detractors are imprisoned or murdered.
Soldiers roam the streets in North Korea to keep people in line with the government’s stance. Soldiers routinely beat people who speak even one wrong word, and there are consistent human rights violations North Korea every day. North Korea can hardly be held accountable for its crimes, and Yeonmi witnessed many of those crimes herself.
She was forced to watch executions in the streets to show how much power the government had. She lived in a constant state of fear, and she is scarred to this day from the things she saw as a child. North Korea does untold psychological damage to its people, and this damage cannot be overstated. Simply watching Yeonmi’s videos should give viewers an idea of how harmful living in North Korea can be.
#3: Even Escape Was Brutal
The escape from North Korea into China was terrible for Yeonmi and her mother. Her mother was raped on the way to China, and Yeonmi was left powerless while she traveled with her mother to safety. This experience alone shaped the way Yeonmi frames her arguments. She is a staunch feminist who is very concerned about human rights for women around the world.
Yeonmi Park’s stories are striking in their sadness, and anyone who watches her videos will get a real idea of what it is like to live in North Korea. A childhood that was destroyed by the government in North Korea is redeemed every day when people hear her story. No one should have to escape from such terrible circumstances, and Yeonmi hopes her stories will one day save her people.