Heartfelt plea from North Korean Girl

- Yeonmi Park, One Young World Summit 2014

This is an amazing speech. Makes me wonder just how much of the world I am indifferent to. There are two options for this video below, please watch whichever suits you best. No need for me to say anything here. Just a few minutes and you’ll get her point and realise that we cannot assume that people born between arbitrary lines called borders are any different to us. We’re all the same. We’re all humans and we all need to treated with the same love that the world contains.

There’s a full transcript below the videos if that’s helpful to you.

North Korean girl, Yeonmi Park speaks at One Young World Summit 2014

Option 1

Option 2

Transcript – Yeonmi Park at One Young World Summit 2014

I have to do this because this is not me speaking, this is the people who wanted to tell the world what they want to say.

North Korea is an unimaginable country, there is only one channel on TV, there is no internet, we aren’t free to sing, say, wear or think what we want. North Korea is the only country in the world that executed people for making unauthorised international phone calls. North Korean’s are being terrorised today. When I was growing up in North Korea I never saw anything about love stories between men and women. No books, no songs, no press, no movies about love stories. There is no Romeo and Juliet. Every story was propaganda to promote the Kim dictators.

I was born in 1993 and I was abducted at birth even before I knew the words freedom or human rights. North Koreans are desperately seeking and dying for freedom at this moment. When I was 9 years old I saw my friend’s mother publicly executed. Her crime – watching a Hollywood movie. Expressing doubt about the greatness of the regime can get three generations of a family imprisoned or executed. When I was four years old, I was warned by my mother not to even whisper, the birds and mice couldn’t hear me. I admit it: I thought the North Korean dictator could read my mind.

My father died in China after we escaped North Korea and I had to bury him, at 3am in secret. I was 14 years old. I couldn’t even cry. I was afraid to be sent back to North Korea. The day I escaped North Korea, I saw my mother raped. The rapist was a Chinese broker. He targeted me. I was 13 years old. There is a saying in North Korea: “Women are weak, but mothers are strong.” My mother allowed herself to be raped in order to protect me.

North Korean refugees, about 300,000, are vulnerable in China. 70% of North Korean women teenage girls are being victimised, sometimes sold for as little as $200. We walked across the Gobi desert, following a compass, when that stopped working we followed stars to freedom. I felt only the stars were with us. Mongolia was our freedom moment. Death or dignity. Armed with knives, we were prepared to kill ourselves if we were going to be sent back to North Korea. We wanted to live as humans.

People often ask me: How can we help North Koreans? There are many ways, but I would like to mention three, for now.
One – educate yourself so you can raise awareness about the human rights crisis in North Korea.
Two – help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape to freedom.
Three – petition China to stop repatriation. We have to shed light on the darkest place in the world.

It isn’t just North Korean human rights it’s our rights that the North Korean dictators have violated for seven decades. We need governments around the world to put more pressure on China, to stop repatriation. In particular, Chinese delegates of One Young World can play a part by speaking out. North Korea is indescribable. No humans deserve to be oppressed just because of their birthplace. We need to focus less on the regime and more on the people who are being forgotten. One Young World, we are the ones who will make them visible. Fellow delegates, please join me as we make this a global movement to free North Koreans. When I was crossing the Gobi desert, scared of dying, I thought nobody in this world cared. It seemed that only the stars were with me. But you have listened to my story. You have cared, thank you very much.

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