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  1. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Mar '17 12:47 / 1 edit
    This first thread I made was about Miss Park detailing her escape from N. Korea. This time, Yeonmi goes into detail about what her life was like growing up under that dictatorship, and the mindset they are forced to adopt.

    YouTube : Yeonmi Park Interview

    http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/04/23/kim-jong-un-doesnt-like-me-at-all-says-21-year-old-defector-from-north-korea/

    Park grew up in the brutal and repressive North Korea as a child of privilege until her father was arrested for sending metals to China. He was sent to a labor camp — and Park and her mother set off on a long journey to freedom away from the oppressive regime. Park painted a grim portrait of life as a child in North Korea. “One of my earlier memories was my mom telling me not to even whisper, because the birds and mice can hear my whisper,” she said. “I was so surprised in the West to see parents encourage their children to express their feelings. I had to learn at that young of an age not to.”

    There are few countries as secretive and mysterious as North Korea, but what is known about the hermit kingdom is disturbing: 24 million people live in enforced poverty under an Orwellian strategy overseen by 32-year-old dictator Kim Jong Un.

    The dictatorship extends to every facet of their lives. During her lessons in school, Park learned math problems like, “There are 10 Americans, and if you kill five of them, how many are left?” she recalled. “They told us that the rest of the world are impure and disgusting and it’s a dangerous place, and we have nothing to envy outside of the world, that our country was the best.”

    As Park remembers, “In North Korea, everything is not free. Guards are telling us what to do and what to watch. We cannot think for ourselves and we are put into strict classes. My father became a prisoner, and I was a prisoner’s daughter and therefore didn’t have a future.”

    In 2007, at age 13, Park fled from the isolated nation. There are guards positioned on the borders of China ordered to shoot anyone seen fleeing on sight, and Park and her mother knew someone who helped them across the river. But that was only the beginning.

    While in China, when a man threatened to rape Yeonmi, her mother refused to allow it, and she was raped instead to protect her daughter. They were both sold into human trafficking. “I never knew what human trafficking was, and I couldn’t imagine how people could sell other people. I couldn’t not believe they were negotiating price before my eyes,” said Park. “The man who bought me said if I became his mistress, he would buy my mother and my father. And so I became his mistress to see my mother and father again.” Once her father arrived in China, he was diagnosed and died from colon cancer. “I had to bury his ashes at 3 a.m. in the middle of the night,” she recalled. “There was nobody I could call and say my father had died. I still remember that cold night, sitting next to him.”

    Park and her mother understood they needed to get out of China: “We wanted to live like human beings with dignity.” They crossed the Gobi Desert with five people on a cold night — “it was minus-40 degrees, she said, so no one would think that someone would cross the desert.” Park was then only 15 years old. “We followed a compass at first, and then we followed the stars to north and to freedom.”
  2. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Mar '17 12:52
    Yeonmi's original account of her escape:

    YouTube : Yeonmi Park

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-story-of-a-north-korean-defector-yeonmi-park-to_us_58c4c742e4b070e55af9f00c

    “To you, he was a joke. To me, he [Kim Jong Un] was a God,” said Yeonmi Park today when she presented to the 2017 Global Teen Leaders at the Just Peace Summit.

    Tentatively, she introduced herself as a North Korean defector. Eyes dry, she slowly began to deliver the story of her life.

    To her, Kim Jong Un was a literal god. He was “Our Dearest Leader.”

    Yeonmi’s world was a terrible reality. It featured a society which she referred to as “brainwashed.” During Yeonmi’s time in North Korea, she recalled a society where public executions were performed arbitrarily. When one person was arrested, their entire family was at risk of being sent to a Korean work camp. “You can be killed for watching a [foreign] movie,” said Yeonmi.
  3. 30 Mar '17 13:26
    The problem of North Korea is an interesting one as it brings up a lot of questions with regards to morality and politics. But they are difficult questions with no easy answers.
  4. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Mar '17 18:21
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The problem of North Korea is an interesting one as it brings up a lot of questions with regards to morality and politics. But they are difficult questions with no easy answers.
    This young lady also puts a face on the the term "refugee". That term has (inadvertently) depersonalized people classified as such. It makes people think of statistics, politics, government, etc...but not of people. For a brief time, critics paused their disdain for Syrian refugees when the body of a two-year-old toddler, Alan Kurdi, was found alone on a beach. That little boy, too young to understand the situation he was in, drowned, senselessly; senseless because their bid to move to Canada was rejected by the Canadian government. This boy could, and should, still be alive.

    If more defectors escape N. Korea, I hope that they will not be treated with the same disdain that the Syrians received. There are many Yeonmi Parks, sadly. Not just in N. Korea, but among refugees (and those unable to escape) all over the world. The worst thing we can do is forget this, and get lost in useless quarrels over political ideology.
  5. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Mar '17 18:38
    YouTube

    This video briefly features Miss Park, but focuses more on the brainwashing that N. Korean citizens go through from the time they're small children. Not only were they raised to believe Kim Jong Ill (Un's dad) was a god, but also that he could read your thoughts. Miss Park, as a result, wouldn't allow herself to think one negative thing about Kim Jong's regime, and had to undergo three years of counseling before she could understand everything she'd been taught was a lie.
  6. 30 Mar '17 19:20
    Originally posted by vivify
    This young lady also puts a face on the the term "refugee".
    And that too raises an ethical question. Why do we only attribute 'innocence' to young girls and toddlers?
  7. 30 Mar '17 19:21
    Originally posted by vivify
    If more defectors escape N. Korea, I hope that they will not be treated with the same disdain that the Syrians received. There are many Yeonmi Parks, sadly. Not just in N. Korea, but among refugees (and those unable to escape) all over the world. The worst thing we can do is forget this, and get lost in useless quarrels over political ideology.
    So do you support the free movement of people, or only tightly restricted refugee programs?
  8. 30 Mar '17 19:54 / 1 edit
    The name is probably Yeon Mi

    Koreans always have two parts to their name, then the last name.

    I guess in Korea they would go with family name first.
  9. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Mar '17 20:46
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    So do you support the free movement of people, or only tightly restricted refugee programs?
    "Free movement", as in unrestricted travel/immigration to and from any and all nations is an realistic ideal in this age.
  10. 30 Mar '17 20:51 / 3 edits
    Vivify has a long record (though he might have become a bit less gullible lately) of falling
    for absurd propaganda, such as the US media's typical pro-Israeli propaganda.

    Again, Yeonmi Park's truthfulness or factual accuracy have been severely questioned
    by other North Korean defectors and some Western analysts of the DPRK.

    http://thediplomat.com/2014/12/the-strange-tale-of-yeonmi-park/

    "The Strange Tale of Yeonmi Park:
    A high-profile North Korean defector has harrowing stories to tell. But are they true?"
    --Mary Ann Jolley

    "When Park was nine, which would have been around 2002, she says she saw her best
    friend’s mother executed at a stadium in Hyesan. But, according to several North Korean
    defectors from Hyesan who didn’t want to be identified for fear of reprisal, public
    executions only ever took place on the outskirts of the city, mostly at the airport, never in
    the stadium or streets, and there were none after 2000 – the last they recall was a mass
    execution of ten or eleven people in 1999.

    Park’s account of the mother’s crime changes constantly, depending it seems on her
    audience. In Europe recently she claimed the woman was executed for watching a
    James Bond movie and sometimes, less specifically, a Hollywood movie. But in Hong
    Kong a few months ago, she told an audience the woman had been caught watching
    South Korean DVDs. Irish Independent journalist, Nicola Anderson, in a recent online
    video interview with Park seemed confused and asked her, “It was a movie from South
    Korea wasn’t it?” Park’s response was, “No, Hollywood movie, James Bond.”

    One of the world’s leading authorities on North Korea, is Andrei Lankov, a professor at
    Kookmin University in Seoul. Born in the Soviet Union, he was an exchange student in
    North Korea during the 1980s and has interviewed hundreds of defectors as part of his
    research. He says, “I am very, very skeptical whether watching a Western movie would
    lead to an execution. An arrest for such action is possible indeed, but still not very likely."

    He says the sorts of crimes that result in public execution are, “Murder, large-scale theft,
    especially of the government property, sometimes involvement with large-scale
    smuggling operations, including human trafficking.”

    A 59-year-old woman from Hyesan who escaped in 2009 laughed when asked was
    anyone ever executed for watching an American movie. “How can you be executed for
    watching an American film? It sounds ridiculous even saying it. That has never
    happened before. I go to church with around 350 defectors and you ask any one of
    them and they will say exactly the same thing,” she told us over the phone from South
    Korea. Other defectors confirmed this."

    I also doubt that a North Korean was executed only for watching a Hollywood film.
    But the 'celebrity defector' Yeonmi Park may find Westerners gullible enough to swallow her claim.

    http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/north-korea-defectors-and-their-skeptics/

    :North Korea: Defectors and Their Skeptics:
    Some skeptics are publicly doubting the horrific stories being told by North Korean defectors."
    --John Power

    "An even harsher critic of Park’s has been Michael Bassett, a North Korea analyst who spent
    several years stationed at the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas for the U.S. military.
    While he does not doubt other defectors and accepts the findings of the recent UN Commission
    of Inquiry’s report into North Korea’s human rights abuses, he has called Park a liar and
    a “spinstress,” taking issue with her river anecdote and use of the word “holocaust” to
    describe the situation in the country.

    “She wants to sensationalize the narrative to make everybody think that, you know, this
    is the ‘90s North Korea. It’s not,” Bassett said.
    He has also claimed that Park is being used to promote an agenda of sanctions against
    the country and economic liberalization by organizations such as Freedom Factory, a
    Seoul-based free market think tank where she is a media fellow.
    “It sounds like she is being fed a narrative, it sounds like she is being told to perform,” Bassett said."

    A sensationalized story tends to sell better than a 'just plain facts' story to gullible Westerners.
  11. 30 Mar '17 21:03
    Michael Bassett, an American analyst of the DPRK, has criticized Yeonmi Park's (varying) stories and her apparent motives

    "Michael Bassett served in the US Army for ten years; four of which were spent as a tank
    commander and intelligence officer on the DMZ. He has a BA and MA in international
    communications, and a graduate certificate in North Korean affairs. He has lived on the
    Korean Peninsula for seven years and has family members from both sides of the DMZ."

    http://www.koreaobserver.com/casey-lartigue-yeon-mi-park-puppet-show-24285

    "Casey and Yeon-mi ‘Puppet’ Show"
    --Michael Bassett (27 October 2014)

    "Casey Lartigue, of the Casey and Yeon-mi Show, Teach North Korea Refugees Program (TNKRP),
    and Freedom Factory, is sponsored by the Atlas Network, a self-proclaimed network
    designed to “advance liberty.” Libertarian economist Kim Chung-ho works in this nexus
    that is affiliated with an NGO that he presides over called the Center for Free Enterprise.

    There are numerous other NGOs, think tanks, and firms that have partnered with Freedom Factory’s nexus.
    Combined, most of them on the surface appear intent on spreading liberty and libertarian economics
    in Asia. However, instances of Yeon-mi’s changing narratives indicate otherwise.

    Yeon-mi’s selection from the TNKRP to be Casey’s “freedom star” that “followed the
    stars to freedom” is dubious. TNKRP refugees know that if they learn to speak English,
    learn to adapt a politically correct narrative, and learn how to woo an audience; then
    Casey can present them with opportunities to fame.

    In short, if a refugee is willing to become an agitprop puppet for Casey’s nexus, then
    they can achieve stardom – a very enticing trade-off with so few opportunities available
    for North Korean refugees.

    Agitprop is a very specific form of propaganda that benefits communism by using media,
    drama, and the arts through a marionette deployed to carry out a strategic political
    agenda by influencing public sentiment.

    Despite Yeon-mi’s original revelations that summarily claimed that engaging and
    humanizing the North Korea would change the regime – something Liberty in North
    Korea and the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea agree with (see here,
    and here) – she was instead sold-out to Casey and abandoned advocating for the 24
    million North Koreans still being oppressed.

    She switched to a narrative of demonization favoring sanctions against the regime with
    no mention whatsoever, anywhere, by her or Casey as to how that approach would
    liberate North Korea."
  12. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Mar '17 21:05
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    And that too raises an ethical question. Why do we only attribute 'innocence' to young girls and toddlers?
    I guess because they're seen as more pure or less evil than men.
  13. 30 Mar '17 21:07
    Michael Bassett, an American analyst of the DPRK, replies to questions and criticisms.

    http://www.koreaobserver.com/mikes-answers-to-10-questions-regarding-his-article-casey-and-yeon-mi-puppet-show-24381/

    "Sensationalized rhetoric is easy to get away with because North Korea has a long
    history of lying & propaganda; and severely lacks freedom of the press. These factors
    undermine general knowledge of progress actually taking place in the country, and
    allows for external actors to get away with saying anything they want about the situation.

    There are atrocities going on everywhere in the world, but because North Korea is so
    isolated we focus on what little information we can get on about the country. The most
    popular rhetoric revolves around nukes and human rights abuses, while generally
    ignoring other developments or reforms actually taking place – or just have a skewed
    perspective of them. That does not make me an apologist or mean that I don’t recognize
    how bad it is there. “Analytically objective and detached” would describe me much more
    appropriately if I must be “placed in a box.”"
    --Michael Bassett
  14. 30 Mar '17 21:10
    Originally posted by vivify
    "Free movement", as in unrestricted travel/immigration to and from any and all nations is an realistic ideal in this age.
    So you do support discrimination by nationality? On what basis is it an 'unrealistic ideal'? The same sort of 'unrealistic ideal' as expecting China to treat North Korean refugees humanely? Or different in some way? Why are we discussing anything given that almost anything other than the status quo is an 'unrealistic ideal'?
  15. 30 Mar '17 21:11
    Originally posted by vivify
    I guess because they're seen as more pure or less evil than men.
    I understand why. But that doesn't mean we should encourage such blatant sex discrimination and ageism.