Yeonmi Park is a woman of both exceptional strength and incredible courage. She escaped one of the most reviled governments on the planet, the Kim Jong Un run North Korea, and endured two years as human chattel when she was sold into a human trafficking ring as a 13 year old girl. Still, Park kept her head held high and eventually made a harrowing escape that would eventually lead her to becoming a face of dissent, and an enemy of the North Korean dictatorship. The tiny woman now stands tall, years later, in the face of North Korea’s wrath.
Park has done a ton of press since deciding to become an activist for human rights and through it all she has kept her sights focused. She wants to stop North Korea from doing to so many others what they have done to her and her family. Not only that, but she wants to see an end to human trafficking. Standing for justice surely shouldn’t make her a conduit of controversy, but the North Korean government has done everything that they could in order to discredit the woman.
North Korea is famous for trying to drag down defectors who manage to escape their steely, greedy grasp. Becoming a defector of North Korea puts you at some risk, but becoming a public image that stands against North Korean views puts you into true danger. North Korea has already tried to kill Park Sang-hak, the man who launches anti dictator leaflets while in North Korean airspace. They’ve also killed people who write exposes on the dictator and his family. So to see Park become a public image makes many worry for her safety. North Korea’s most common weapon for refugees is character assassination. They released an 18 minute video on the North Korean website that seemed developed only to hate on, discredit, and slander Yeonmi Park.
Park rose to prominent internet fame when a speech of her’s went viral on YouTube. Yeonmi had agreed to be a speaker at the One Young World Summit back in Dublin and she didn’t hide her voice when she spoke of North Korean ills. Park told the audience about watching her friend’s mother executed in public for breaking a minor rule. She and others were so brainwashed by the North Korean government that they feared even thinking negative thoughts about the regime for fear of some sort of reprisal.
The gruesomeness of her details contrasted sharply with her porcelain doll like appearance. Yeonmi Park is a beautiful young woman, tiny in stature, but fierce in both voice and determination. Since the viral video Park has become a sensation an done that is starting to make people like Kim Yong Un very worried. Her new book, which will assuredly rocket to the top of the Best Sellers list, will expose all of the awful truths that Park had to live through. Hopefully her story helps to spark some very real change in the world to prevent such ordeals from happening again.