Yeonmi Park: The Voice of North Korea

Yeonmi Park has created quite a commotion in North Korea. At the age of 21, she has become a human rights activist for the people imprisoned under the North Korean dictatorship. Park’s story has sent ripples across the world, creating the largest and most needed human rights movement to take place in this century.

Park voices the things that others are afraid to come forward and say. In a country where you cannot freely do, think or say anything out of line, Park is taking a huge risk by speaking out about this matter and the country of North Korea.

Park has lived through many awful and unthinkable happenings throughout her young life. She witnessed her friend’s mother executed in public at the innocent age of 9. Nothing is free in North Korea. Children within the country are taught to fear the rest of the world; they are taught that their country is the best, and the only country they should know. There are strict classes within this country, and because Park’s father went to prison, this meant that she was nothing more than the daughter of a prisoner; she had no future.

At the age of 13, Park and her mother fled from the country, miraculously evading the multitudes of armed guards. Park and her mother made it to China, where their experience was just as terrible. Both Park and her mother were sold into human trafficking, where Park was manipulated to become a man’s mistress so that she could see her father again. However, not long after Park and her father were reunited, colon cancer took his life. Park had to bury her father’s ashes alone in the dead of the night. It was then that Park decided, they would leave China and continue their journey to freedom. 15 year old Park and her mother braved the below-freezing temperatures of the Gobi Desert, extraordinarily finding their way to safety and freedom in Mongolia.

Park’s bravery and willingness to speak out on is a significant step, not only for those in North Korea, but for people all over the world. North Korea is an unconceivable country that is often downplayed by Western media sources. Much of the Western hemisphere has an idea of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, as a bizarre man with wild hair. The media tends to focus solely on the dictator, rather than the millions of people who are suffering in this country every day.

Ultimately, Park’s message is one of human rights and peace. Every human being deserves to live with dignity, and use their voice for the greater good. Park wants people to have hope, and to use their voices and own their ideas and thoughts. Now is the time to realize the brutality and cruelness that this country creates. Now is the time to make a change.