The Story of Yeonmi Park

Learning about different cultures and lifestyles in the world is a good way to see things from a completely different perspective. In the case of author and human rights activist Yeonmi Park, the reality of life in North Korea is one of the many perspectives. Yeonmi Park knows first hand exactly what living in North Korea is like, as she has detailed in her newest autobiography entitled “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom.” In the book, she goes into explicit detail about how brutal life can be for many people and the truly oppressive nature of the Kim Jong-Il regime that she and her family lived under for all of those years. Park adds stories about how her family made the daring move to escape and having to overcome multiple obstacles in order for them to gain their freedom, including traffickers who tried to take full advantage of their situation. Starving and poor conditions were also obstacles she included in her tale that ultimately shows what people trying to leave the country would have to go through. Before becoming a renowed activist, Park spent her early life living in the Hyesan district of North Korea. Her mother was a nurse for the North Korean Army and her father worked as a civil servant for the town hall where the Worker’s Party operated at. While her young life showed that it was full of privileges that many could not enjoy, her and her family found themselves in the middle of struggle as the years went on, mainly due to her father being imprisoned after being accused of insider trading. Once she learned on NK news of the true horrors of the North Korean regime, Park and her family made the move to escape the country with her father, first by crossing into China with the help of some human traffickers. The family was then able to smuggle themselves into Mongolia before eventually settling down into South Korea. Park’s father was unable to join them, after having diagnosed with colon cancer and tragically dying before seeing their journey be complete.