It's sad to think about how hard the life of many North Koreans is, especially those living in prison conditions and under torture. They live unaware there is life beyond the grasp of Kim Jong-Un, North Korean boy dictator and son of deceased leader Kim Jong-Il. As if the elder Kim wasn't bad enough, with his horrific public executions, kidnapped foreigners, and frequent power outages, the son has carried on his shameful legacy. The saddest part is learning that those unfortunate souls who reside in North Korea not only cannot escape, but believe there is no better way things could be.
Yeonmi Park, a young North Korean defector, was one of these people. Now, at the raw age of 20, she has barely come to understand her freedom and her rights as a human individual. Unlike most citizens of the DPRK's prison state, she was able to escape, and live safely with her mother in South Korea for the past five years.
“I realized that everything I thought was a lie," Park told the Australian media. "I had not been a real person — I was created for the regime to work for them. If they ordered us to die, I would’ve died for them. I wasn't a human — I was something else. I certainly wasn't treated like one. I knew nothing of freedom. It took about three years to fully get over the brainwashing."
She describes how she was brought up to believe that then leader Kim Jong-Il was "a god" who could read her thoughts, due to 24/7 propaganda — a fear made palpable as people around her were made to disappear on a regular basis.
When Park turned 15, her family was able to flee to nearby China, and then to South Korea as refugees. However, no matter how far away she was from the evil dictator, she still feared what they would do to her if she ever even had one negative thought about Kim Jong-Il.
"This whole time, I was still so brainwashed that I thought Kim Jong-Il could read my mind from afar. Even though I had escaped, I wouldn't let myself think anything negative about the regime," Park said.
It took her about three years to fully get over the brainwashing she endured, and now she says she can finally see "the truth."