Being subjected to a childhood of tyranny and torture can be life-changing to some, and never in a good way, but with Yeonmi Park, it was a triumphant one. Yeonmi Park’s upcoming book on Amazon.com, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom demonstrates just that. It’s an in depth account of her time as a child in North Korea under the brutal dictatorship of Kim Jong II. Her father was captured and tortured for being in the black market, only because he was trying to make ends meet for his family. This stamped them as criminals, and they were forced to live in hardship under the cruel regime of North Korea. After years of being malnourished and suffering from a mishandled appendectomy, Yeonmi and her mother smuggled themselves across the border towards China to find her sister who had went missing there. It wasn’t until they finally made their way to South Korea where they found freedom and were no longer being shackled by the physical and psychological anguish they faced all of those years; her father was dead and her sister was still missing. But Park confronted her demons and still continues to remain irrepressible even to this day.
Her main accomplishment according to Reason.com besides being a hero to many is her tireless activism. Her programs include the Freedom Factory Corporation and the nonprofit organization LiNK(Liberty in North Korea)which rescues North Korean refugees hiding in China and relocating to South Korea and the United States. She’s also been an outspoken opponent to the tourism in North Korea because of the fact that visitors are instructed to bow down to the statues of Kim Jong II and Kim II Sing; she sees this as feeding into the totalitarian regime that everybody who goes there has to follow orders and obey these dictators. Yeonmi is very adamant that her and the other defectors activism for human rights in North Korea can bring change and unity between North and South Korea. Her story is something unique that still continues to resonate in a society today that yearns for a revolution.