‘In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom’ is North Korean defector and human rights activist Yeonmi Park’s new book about the horrors of living in and escaping from North Korea. The book follows her family’s downfall, suffering, degradation, and eventual triumph in the face of oppression, violence and sexual savagery. It also chronicles Park’s emergence as an authentic, eloquent voice for freedom and the rights of oppressed people everywhere. The book shows Yeon-mi’s spirit, will, resilience, and determination.
Park to gives voice to the pain and fear she dealt with on her harrowing journey. The cruelty she had to endure is jarring and seems out of sync with the modern world. Her first person revelations shines a light on the ugly underbelly of the world in the 21st century. The book also has many imperfect heroes without whom Yeonmi Park would not have been able to find her way to freedom. This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in the truth about Yeon-mi’s motivation for becoming a human rights activist.
She was born in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, North Korea in 1993. Her father was a politically-connected civil servant and her mother a North Korean army nurse. The family was considered fairly wealthy and Yeon-mi and her sister Eunmi had an idyllic childhood. But then economic tough times hit and Yeon-mi’s father was arrested, tortured, and sent to prison for selling metal on the black market.
Fortunately Yeonmi Park’s NY Times story didn’t end there. Through her bravery and determination and the help of others she was able to make her way to Seoul, South Korea, complete her schooling, and become an important voice in the struggle for human rights. The speech about her struggles she gave in Dublin, Ireland at the One Young World 2014 Summit has been viewed on Youtube by over 2 million people. It’s helped raise consciousness among young people worldwide about the issues of human rights, sexual slavery, and human trafficking.