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Friday, June 21, 2024

Human Rights Activist Yeonmi Park Discovers Freedom and God After Fleeing North Korea


OREM — Yeonmi ‌Park, a 30-year-old human rights activist, shared her harrowing journey from North Korea to ⁢the United States with a captivated audience of 400 at Utah Valley University on Wednesday evening. She emphasized‌ the importance of cherishing freedom, a privilege she believes many Americans take for granted.

As a‍ child in Hyesan, a town just a mile‌ away from the​ Chinese border, Park would gaze at ​the ⁤distant lights in the neighboring Chinese town, wondering why they had the luxury ⁢of electricity when her ‍own town was shrouded in darkness. “Perhaps if⁤ I could reach those ⁢lights,⁢ I could have⁤ a bowl of rice,” she mused to her audience at UVU. Her initial quest for freedom was not driven ⁤by lofty ideals, but by the simple desire for a bowl of rice.

In a conversation with the Deseret News, Park‌ revealed ​how North Korea’s first leader, Kim Il-Sung, manipulated the people⁢ into worshipping ‍him. “He fashioned himself as a‍ god, even going as far as to claim that he was bestowing his son, Kim‌ Jung Il, upon the people,”⁢ she said.

In her memoir, “In Order to Live,” Park recounts her mother’s cautionary advice to always guard her words, as even the‌ birds and mice⁢ could be listening. This was⁢ a ‍reflection⁤ of the oppressive regime that⁤ forbade any negative‌ thoughts about their leaders.

Park drew parallels between religion‌ and democracy. She noted that before the Korean War,‌ Pyeongyang was referred to as the Jerusalem of ​the East. However, today, North Korea is the most challenging place to practice Christianity. “For a communist state like North‍ Korea to thrive, the state‍ must be worshipped, not⁢ God,” she explained.

She also shared her personal journey to Christianity, which began when she became ⁢a mother ‌in 2018. “There’s no need for words or rationality, you just feel the presence of God,” she said.

‘In South Korea, you can ⁢wear jeans’

At the UVU event, Park narrated⁢ her escape from ⁤North Korea, which was triggered by⁢ an unnecessary appendectomy. ⁤She said, “In North Korea,⁢ people don’t ​die from cancer, they ​die from infection.”

After her⁣ older sister’s sudden escape, Park and her parents decided to follow ‌suit. However, their ⁤journey to freedom was fraught with danger‍ and deception. They were trafficked into the sex industry by a woman‌ who claimed‌ to be helping them.

Two years later, Park and ⁣her mother were‌ rescued ‍by South Korean Christians. They were guided across⁤ the ⁢Gobi Desert⁢ into⁢ Mongolia, ⁤and eventually ​made it to South Korea. “Freedom ​was responsibility,”⁢ Park said, reflecting on her new life in South Korea.

Park’s warning against socialism

The UVU event was⁢ sponsored by the Young America’s ⁢Foundation. Park expressed her concern about the socialist ideologies she encountered at Columbia University, comparing⁤ them to the ⁢doctrines ⁤she was taught in North ⁢Korea.

She criticized her‍ professors for promoting⁢ socialism from the comfort of their air-conditioned ‍rooms, while she ‍had experienced its harsh realities firsthand in ⁣North Korea. “Socialism ‍promises equality of ​outcomes,” Park said, drawing a comparison with North Korea’s 51 different social classes.

She recounted conversations​ with her friends in New York City ​who were ardent supporters of socialism. They argued that‍ capitalism was evil ⁤because⁣ it created inequality. However, Park disagreed, stating, “Inequality is not⁤ a sign of oppression, it’s a sign⁣ of progress.”

Truth Media Network
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  1. Yeonmi’s incredible journey is a testament to the power of resilience and the pursuit of freedom. Her story serves as a reminder that even in the darkest times, hope and faith can prevail.


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