In her autobiographical Amazon best-selling book In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, rights activist Yeonmi Park relates what it was like growing up knowing absolutely nothing about freedom. Her book begins when she is 13-years-old when on March 31, 2007 as she crosses the Yalu River into China. These are her first steps into freedom. Her journey would take her and Yeonmi’s family several years and be hundreds of miles long. Along the way the family endured many hardships such as abuse by the men who were helping them escape, starvation, and Yeonmi Park’s father dying of cancer on the way.
Her amazing story of survival which was retold by the reason.com has made Yeonmi one of the most famous human rights activists alive today. Like many celebrities, Yeonmi is definitely not without her critics. There are those who point out small discrepancies in her story and say this indicates she made the whole thing up. Despite these criticisms, Yeonmi has stuck to her gun saying there are discrepancies because she either had to change the facts in order to protect family members still in North Korea or changed facts because of shame (such as a story being raped when she was just 13-years-old).
Yeonmi speaks on behalf of tens of thousands of North Korean refuge all over the world. The rest of the world needs the Youtube video testimony of these refugees. We certainly won’t be getting any information from North Korea, which has been known for years as the most reclusive, secretive nation in the world.