North Korean defector and human rights fighter Yeonmi Park is facing growing criticism from both her former country and critics outside. Yeonmi Park’s autobiography on Amazon titled In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom is a recount of her life in North Korea, her eventual escape, hiding in China and the risky journey to Mongolia, and her arrival in South Korea by plane.
Park’s autobiography describes in sometimes gruesome detail on what it is like to grow up in North Korea. Much of her childhood was spent during one of the worst famines in the country’s history. Park describes that bodies were piled on the streets of the cities, and people were so desperate for food in North Korea, that they would resort to eating flowers, small mammals like mice and plants. People were begging and desperate for food Park recalls. Her family was one of the lucky ones and was considered well off, so they had some food, but even for well off families with good government jobs life was still a struggle and bleak for most of the time.
Yeonmi Park also describes the police state in North Korea, where everything is tightly controlled. The schools teach young kids to worship the supreme leader of North Korea and drill kids into their heads that he is immortal, all knowing, almost like a god. Yeonmi describes that she thought that supreme leader Kim Jong-un could read her mind and would find her. That is how powerful the propaganda and police state is in North Korea. It makes people not only afraid of the government and speak out, but it makes the supreme leader into a mythical god like figure that people worship daily.
Park’s critics have pointed out to the fact that there are some errors in her book, and some information is not exactly accurate. She has responded to these critics by pointing out that she had changed the names of people in her autobiography so that they would not face punishment at the hands of North Korea’s government. She also admits that she omitted some information and out of shame and embarrassment, and has since come clean about her ommissions. A poor grasping of the English language also led to some errors she admits. For more info on Yeonmi Park’s book and her reply to criticisms check out this article on Reason.com