To North Korea, Yeomni Park would be a defector but, to the rest of the world she would be considered a hero. She said while living in North Korea, freedom was never anything she dreamed of, she was only occupied with getting enough food to sustain her. Then on March 31st, 2007 along with her mother they sneaked out of North Korea. After a long journey they made it to China. They had not formulated a plan, just being out was enough for the moment.
At the time of the escape Park’s was only thirteen, it was one of the most difficult things she had ever done. They had to cross the Gobi desert, then to the Mongolian border, all the while trying to get to South Korea. During this time they were met with lots of ridicule. Her young mind was always drifting towards suicide. Parks father eventually manage to cross the boarder and join up with them, but after a short time he died from an untreated illness.
Parks and her mother was devastated. Park would later tell Reason TV that her father died not even knowing that he could have lived in a free world. Also saying that the amount of food the Americans discard daily, she would have been happy to have it while living in North Korea. To read more on this piece, visit:reason.com/blog/2015/11/15/yeomni-parks-north-korean-defector-story
Parks became an activist. Speaking out on all the injustice that is occurring in her former homeland. She states that it’s a nation that runs on fear, the people are oppressed and must pledge their loyalty to their ruler. Yeonmi Park says on The Guardian she was in constant fear, she really thought they could figure out what she was thinking. Her father was a successful civil servant but, was imprisoned because he smuggled some metal in order to put food on the table for the family. He was brutally tortured while in prison and the remaining family had their share of relenting suffering too.
Her older sister just could not take anymore, so she left before they decided to do the same. The path to South Korea was also marred with bitter hardship, which included trafficking, then eventually being freed. She is still trying to come to terms with all that she endured. Today she is working hard and speaking out for her people’s freedom.