Earlier in January of 2015, a North Korean website posted an almost 20 minute video informing the public against Yeonmi Park. Yeon-mi is a human rights activist and strong critic of North Korea and they are out to silence her. North Korea has been known in the past to denounce its people who have fled the country. Yeon-mi, like others, has been accused of lying and stretching the truth about the country where she was born. Although North Korea has threatened people’s lives who have left them, and even set out to kill people, their most common jab is at someone’s character.
Yeon-mi became famous on YouTube, unlike others who have testified before the United Nations. She gave a speech at the Dublin Summit, One Young World. Her appearance did not match her heart wrenching story, which garnered the attention of the public.
Yeonmi Park claimed she has become so hurt and paranoid that she thinks the dictator can read her mind. She described how rule breakers and naysayers were punished in North Korea. When she was just a child, she witnessed a public execution for a very minor infraction of the North Korean expectations. At 13, she left. She went to China, where she witnessed even further evil and violence. She still lived in fear of being sent back to North Korea. She eventually fled to Mongolia by tracking through the Gobi desert, using the stars as her compass.
Following her speech, Yeon-mi turned into a well known character representing those who are oppressed in North Korea. Soon after, Yeon-mi was in high demand for interviews and book deals.
During the production of her book, Yeon-mi was presented with a video from North Korea. It was her family who was still in North Korea: uncles, aunts and cousins. They were forced to be filmed denouncing her. It was clear that her family could not come up with negative things to say about her, but it terrified Yeon-mi to see her family being forced into something like that. She was, however, happy to see they were still alive.
Yeon-mi is currently working on her book and speeches. Yeon-mi has been able to team up and speak with a fellow defector, Joseph Kim. Kim also witnessed horror in his home country and tragedy happen to his family.
Together, Yeon-mi and Kim share their stories of survival and heroic pasts that tell the story of their painfully remarkable lives. They fight to not be silenced by their home countries and to continue to spread the word about the evil that goes on in other parts of the world.