Yeonmi Park has gone from being an average teenager, to being held captive, to being human rights activist, following her daring escape from North Korea. Her memoir, which echoed the memories of her harrowing journey, was released in 2015 and helped voice her concerns to the world beyond the Hermit Country.
Yeonmi was born in Hyesan and lived with her parents and older sister. Life in North Korea was oppressive, but she did not realize the concept of freedom until she watched a black market copy of Titanic. Soon after, Yeonmi pieced together that the world was greater than the Kim dynasty taught people.
“So many people are brainwashed,” Yeonmi said on a Daily Mail UK interview. “We only watch what the regime allowed us to watch. We only learned what the regime allowed us to learn. They taught us that the world around us was a terrible place.
“I was taught young that I must not whisper or speak my thoughts because the animals could hear and would tell the regime. I thought Kim Jong-un could read my thoughts.”
Yeonmi Park had been victimized numerous times before she was 18. She witnessed government-ordered executions, experienced famine, and was enslaved after escaping North Korea. Yeonmi and her mother escaped their enslavement by exiting to South Korea, where Yeonmi discovered a world beyond her wildest dreams.
“There are so many things that I did not know existed,” Yeonmi Park said in an interview by The Reason TV. “There is so much food. There is democracy. North Korea has brainwashed so many people, but not all were fooled.”
Yeonmi became a human rights activist. She wrote a novel about life in North Korea and the years following her escape. She has spoken at numerous youth conventions and human rights summits. Yeonmi also hosts “North Korea Today (Featuring Casey & Yeonmi).”