Yeonmi Park’s story on The Reason is a triumphant one, almost as powerful as the evil conditions that she once suffered from. The evil that she knew is still very much present today in the Asian country, but her tale of victory just goes to show the type of inner strength that humans are able to summon in their times of need.
A refugee who lived under the rule of the former dictator, Kim Jong-Il, Park has become a voice for the hundreds of thousands North Koreans. She reveals that her native land is one that promotes hatred and torture; a place that demands complete obedience by its citizens through consistent death threats.
Park describes the constant fear that ailed her constantly having to Kim Jong Il–the Dear Leader. The dictator of North Korea was portrayed as God-like figure. Every trivial aspect of this nation- from the trees, grass, and walls of buildings- were all meant only to serve the so-called great leader and his regime.
Yeonmi Park is the daughter of a once-successful man who served the North Korean Working Party She loved her father, who was sentenced to work in a labor camp due to his attempt to smuggle metals so that he could feed his starving family. At this camp, he was relentlessly tortured and developed a form of cancer which eventually killed him. Yeonmi, her mother, and her sister were practically cast out of society as a part of the family’s punishment.
Eventually, the family decided that it was either time to leave this place of death and misery or else die. They eventually escaped North Korea into China over the frozen Yalu River, and were almost immediately trafficked upon entering China. Yeonmi was purchased for $260 Yeonmi said that she served as a sex slave and cried almost every single day. Eventually, their captor released them upon being reunited with her father, who later died of untreated colon cancer.
Once again, the Park family set out on an escape mission once again, venturing all over parts of Northeast Asia. The freezing temperatures of the Gobi Desert did not stop them, however.
Yeonmi tells more about her compelling story of triumph and civil disobedience in her book, In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. More information about her experiences can be found at the following link published by Reason TV: https://reason.com/blog/2015/11/15/yeonmi-parks-north-korean-defector-story