Imagine what would be like to live in a country with no internet access and no television. Imagine not being able to express your opinion freely, not being allowed to wear what you like, watch or read what you want.
And imagine that all that is happening right now, in front of our noses, in the 21century. The people in North Korea are living under such strict regime, being terrorized constantly.
Yeonmi Park, a young girl who managed to escape from North Korea is now able to tell her story about her life in North Korea asking people to act against the regime and stop such human rights violators.
Yeonmi Park is explaining how life was like in North Korea. She says there was only one channel on TV, where they would watch and listen to news only connected to and celebrating the regime.
She says there were no books, no movies, no songs and no press. They have never watched a movie about a love story actually they didn’t know what love was like. They didn’t know what it means to love your parents, love your partner. There was only love for the regime.
Yeonmi Park was born in 1993, and was immediately abducted, saying that she never knew the words freedom and human rights.
She remembers being nine years old and seeing her friend’s mother being publicly executed – and for what crime? She was watching a Hollywood movie.
Nobody could even dare to express doubt about the greatness of the regime because they would condemn three generations of the family to either imprisonment or execution.
Through pain, she recalls to her mother’s words not to speak her mind, not to even whisper because as she said even mice and birds could hear her.
Yeonmi was only four and was already terrified to speak or even think something bad because she was afraid that the dictator could read her mind.
Even when Yeonmi and her family decided to flee North Korea, things didn’t turn out so well.
The day they stepped foot into China she saw her mother being raped by a Chinese broker who targeted Yeonmi first. But her mother allowed herself to be raped in order to protect Yeonmi.
She says that life for North Korean refugees in China isn’t easy at all. Women and girls are sold over and over again even for a price as low as $200.
Things got worse when Yeonmi’s father died. She had to bury him secretly at 3 a.m. and she couldn’t even cry because she was afraid not to be sent back to North Korea.
When she looks back, she sees them walking across the Gobi desert following a compass, but when the compass broke down they were following nothing else but the shining stars. She said they felt like only the stars were with them and they called them stars of freedom.
When they arrived to Mongolia they were prepared to either death or dignity. If they were send back to North Korea they were prepared to commit suicide. They wanted nothing more but to live a life as every free man on Earth does.
Those who want to help North Korea, Yeonmi says, should read and spread the word in order to raise awareness about human rights in North Korea.
Do as much as they can to give a helping hand to those who are trying to escape North Korea. And more governments around the world should put a pressure to China to stop repatriation.
Yeonmi asks Chinese delegates of One Young World to help and support people from North Korea by speaking up. She asks fellow delegates to join her and make that a global movement which will free North Korea.
Watch the heartfelt speech of Yeonmi Park and please share.
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