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Hear From One of Only 200 North Korean Escapees to America

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2023 3:00 am

Hear From One of Only 200 North Korean Escapees to America

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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March 9, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Yeonmi Park was born in 1993 and in 2007 fled from North Korea with her family to China and settled in South Korea in 2009—before moving to the United States in 2014. What we are about to hear is Yeonmi’s story she gave to a group of students at the Young America’s Foundation in Santa Barbara, California.

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Check out hotelcollection.com to make sure your house is always smelling good too. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. Yanmi Park was born in 1993 and in 2007 fled from North Korea. What we're about to hear is Yanmi's story, one she gave to a group of students at the Young Americas Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. Let's take a listen. I still get very nervous when I'm about to give speeches and there's one thought that comforts me is, even if I mess it up, up there, at the end of the day I'm not going to be executed.

So what do I have to lose, right? Thank you. Thank you. Today in my hotel room, there was an air conditioner and there was a heater in the bathroom. There's a carpet and there's a bed and looking at the swimming pool.

I was thinking, even pinching myself, am I dreaming? This is so much different planet because the world that I grew up in, in North Korea, nothing resembles what we see here today. Today I was thinking about my friends, my family members that I left behind in North Korea right now.

What would they be doing tonight? They would be eating grasshoppers, they would be eating cockroaches, they would be eating anything they could find. In North Korea, children eating even mud. And parents tell the children, if you eat the mud, you cannot go to the bathroom and you're going to die.

And people still eat the mud, even they know they're going to die. And the reason why we are suffering and why we are starving is because that we have the government, the biggest government that you can imagine. I am very spiritual and one day I asked God, like, God, you know everything that is happening, like, why do you let North Korea exist?

Why do you let this happening? Sometimes I can understand. And one day I understood finally. He wanted us to see what it looks like when individuals give their rights, all of their rights and freedom to governments and what the governments does that with.

I came to America and I went to Columbia University. And in my classrooms, the professors were telling me how I need to be stay outraged, how I should stay angry and stay woke because of the injustice the white men that causing in this world. And I was thinking, like, are you a psychopath?

You've got to be a psychopath. Do you have any idea even why not in the 21st century? Four billion human beings are not free. And most people still struggle to find a basic need to survive. We live in the best nation, the best country that's ever existed in the entire human history and in the entire world. And if you cannot be happy with it, I don't know, you need to go to North Korea then.

Thank you. So it's very surreal right now I'm standing in this room full of American bastards who was my sworn enemy. I learned in my school from my teachers that Americans are bastards and it's a one word. And even in my math book, they were saying there are four American bastards. You killed two of them. How many American bastards left to kill?

This is a math question for a child. So now I'm here. I'm with the most amazing bastards you can imagine.

Thank you. And like that, our world view was so simple. They brainwashed us that we are so lucky that we had our dear leader who was chosen by this universe, who was a god. And one thing that North Korea did was they eliminated all the religion and especially they persecuted entire Christians. And then what Kim Il Sung did was he became God. He copied the Bible and told us that he loved us so much.

He gave us his son Kim Il Sung and his body dies, but he can read our minds and his spirit is with us forever. So with that brainwashing, I had no idea the world like this existed. By that time when I was 13 years old, I couldn't find any more food to survive.

And we are the same people with the South Koreans, but we are average three to five inch shorter than South Korea's because of malnutrition. And luckily, I was living in the border town and at nighttime, I saw the lights coming from China. And I was 13 years old in 2007. My sister escaped first when she was 16 years old.

I wanted to go with her and I couldn't go because I had a huge bad stomach ache. My parents took me to the hospital and you expect, I mean this is a socialist paradise, right? There's free healthcare, free education, free housing. I mean everything is free, but nothing works. There's no x-rays.

There's not, they use the beer bottles as a drop. A nurse used one meter to inject every single patient. And people cut their bones without any anesthesia. Doctor just opened my belly that afternoon without any painkillers. And then he thought I was gonna have some appendix. And obviously when he opened it wasn't, I was just a malnutrist and I had an infection, but he still removed my appendix. So I'm gonna sue him when I go back. So I learned that from America, by the way, swing culture. I have a lot of people to sue. I need to sue Kim Jong-un, I need to sue Xi Jinping, a lot of people I need to sue after this. Thank you.

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eBayMotors.com. Let's ride. Eligible items only. Exclusions apply. And we return to our American Stories. You've been listening to North Korean defector Yeonmi Park, who's been describing what her life was like in her communist country where everything was free, including healthcare. She just described how a stomach infection caused by starvation and malnutrition put her in the hospital where a single needle is used on every patient and empty beer bottles substitute his IV bags. In spite of this, the North Korean doctors chose to remove Yeonmi's perfectly healthy appendix without any painkiller.

Let's return to her story. After this surgery, there was on the way to the bathroom. We don't, of course, have indoor bathroom, right?

We have outdoor bathroom. We have to go. There were these piles of human bodies were dead, and this is not something I see for the first time. But you see these children trying to catch these rats eating human eyes first.

Do you know when we die? Rats eat our eyes first because that's the softest tissue that we have. And this woman that I don't know how she was wearing these flower pattern pants, her eyes open and her eyes are open because our eyes are out. There's one thing that we do is when North Koreans die, they cannot even close their eyes because they don't have any strength to even use that muscle. And then when these children eat these human beings, those children die from this some disease that rats carry, and then they eat us back, this like cycle going back and forth between eaten by rats and they eat us back. That's when I realized, no matter what it takes, I'm going to escape from North Korea. I found a lady who wanted to help me to go to North Korea, and at the point I didn't even it didn't occur to me why this lady helping me to escape.

I crossed the frozen river when I was 13 years old with my mother to China. And the first thing I see was my mother being raped. And the saddest thing about being a North Korean is you don't even know the word rape. The regime doesn't teach us these vocabularies, right? How can you be raped in the socialist paradise? How can you be depressed in the socialist paradise? So therefore, they eliminated these words from our dictionary. No word for liberty, there's no word for freedom, human rights, depression, and of course there's no word for gay.

It's a different planet. And then I was like 50 pounds or something, I was 13. And we realized the reason we went to China was these Chinese men, there were more than 30 million men right now in China, cannot find wives because of the one child policy. More girls got aborted than boys, and men cannot find women. So there's a huge demand to buy North Korean girls as sex slaves. So they sold my mother, who was 41 years old, to $65. And they sold me for just over $200 because I was virgin and I was 13 years old child. The phone that I have in my hand costs more than my own price.

And the most saddest part that I'm standing here today is we're eating steak, we're eating this food. There are 300,000 North Korean women right now in China are being sold. Number one place that buys North Korean women is buying them and taking their organs out and kill them. Second place that they buy North Korean women is, you know, brothels. And women resist, so they give the drugs to girls.

They usually last about three to six months. This is what North Korean women go through. But even that is not safe. The Chinese government catch them and sending them back to North Korea. It's like catching a Jew and sending them to a concentration camp. So the only way I could have survived was escaping from China again.

So where do I go? Luckily, for some reason, I was saved by missionaries from South Korea. They were truly God's people and they came risking their lives and told us there was a way out of North Korea, which means crossing frozen Gobi Desert by foot in minus 40 degrees.

Luckily, as you can see, I'm not the biggest person, but for some miracle, I got saved. And I crossed the frozen Gobi Desert and eventually I was sent to South Korea. Only about 207 North Korean defectors made it to America over the last 80 years. It shows how impossible to escape from that country.

It's so interesting. I came to America initially. I started my activism to save my people, to tell the world what's happening. And I thought, like, if we oppose slavery that happened 200 years ago, obviously we're going to oppose it right now if it's happening right now, right?

And that's what I thought, too. As soon as I was going around talking to The New York Times and talking to these people, it's actually so funny, I came to Santa Barbara five years ago, invited by Jeff Bezos to attend at the Four Seasons to talk about my story. I talked to the most prominent people in the world and told them, this is what's happening to my people. If you can stand up for the girls who were captured by ISIS or Boko Haram, can you be a voice for North Korean women, too? And you know what they said?

Don't tell anybody that you know me because they have business in China. Nobody in the free world wants to fight for North Korean women. And not only that, not because I say big government sucks, that socialism is evil, now I became the enemy of the woke.

It's such an interesting word. So I really want one thing I wanted to realize is that, do you know how North Korea became how it is today? When Kim Il Sung came in the 1950s, he made one promise to North Korean people. I'm going to feed you rice and meat stew each meal, and I'm going to get rid of all the inequality. If I do that, why don't you give me all your land and all your rights? So you know, North Korean people did that. We wanted no inequality, so we gave our land, our rights to this one guy for that little price.

He took everything from us, and he did not give us anything back. The only reason that Kim Jong Un stays in power is because of the Chinese Communist Party. Without Chinese Communist Party supporting North Korea for just one week, the regime would collapse.

So who is accountable is Chinese Communist Party. And if we hold them accountable, we can save North Korean people. And you've been listening to Yan Mi Park tell the story, the harrowing story of life in North Korea, particularly what that means to women. The odds of getting sold off to slavery are high. Tech slavery still in the 21st century, you're hearing it firsthand, folks. And the anguish in her voice as she shares these stories, a cry for help in the West of what's happening in the East. Asian upon Asian atrocity, right? The dear leader of North Korea offering to the people of his country the absence of inequality if only they'll surrender their land and rights.

And of course, look what happened ever since. When we come back, more of this remarkable tale, this lesson in what happens when we lose our rights and freedoms here on Our American Stories. With so many streaming devices out there today, what sets Roku apart? Roku players are made for one thing, to get you the entertainment you want quick and easy. That means a simple home screen with your favorites front and center, channels like iHeartRadio that launch in a snap, and curated selections of TV for when you only sort of know what to watch. Not to mention all the free TV you can stream, including over 300 free live channels on the Roku channel. Find the perfect Roku player for you today at roku.com. Happy streaming. Another week, another free pass to entertainment. Check out all the shows and movies you can watch with Xfinity Flex, no strings attached.

Face the darkness in the season two premiere of Yellow Jackets from Showtime. Crack open the history vault and dig into shows like America, The Story of Us. Then watch free picks from networks like Disney Stories Central and more with the kids. Give your ears some love with Hit Nation Junior on iHeartRadio. Easily discover new free content each week across the best streaming apps.

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eBayMotors.com. Let's ride. Eligible items only. Exclusions apply. And we return to our American stories in Yanmi Park's story. And my goodness, we've done some remarkable pieces from immigrants telling the stories of escaping from the torture chambers of Fidel Castro and life from places like Venezuela. But this one, this is as bad as it gets.

Let's return to Yanmi Park. It costs right now about $1900 to rescue North Korean defector to freedom. But unfortunately, that rod even got cancer because of the pandemic and the development of the AI, the China facial recognition. It became impossible to bring any North Korean out of North Korea or get them out of China. So basically, North Korea, who cannot even fit its own people, bought this technology from China and installed them in the border.

So they have the AI recognition, facial recognition cameras all around the country. And they put the landmines to entire border of North with China. So Kim Jong-un made the whole country a concentration camp. He put the electrified wire fences, entire border, and landmines and machine guns. And China's side, they did the exact same.

So at this point, rescuing any North Korean became impossible. So whenever in America I came and people in Manhattan living in the best city in the world telling passionately how America is so bad. So I asked them, so what is it so bad about America that you hate so much? And they say, you know what? We have inequality in this country. It's like, that's an amazing thing that you can rise to compare to other people.

The enemies of poverty, not inequality. I mean, really completely honest with that. Maybe we need a brain surgery. I don't know. How can you be? How can you?

I don't. I mean, I like every classroom at Columbia I was going and these kids, vegans. And going on this juice cleanse, 20 bucks per bottle bought in Soho.

Waiting is like 50 bucks, yoga pants. Telling me how capitalism is so evil and free market is so evil and America is so evil. But they got to be smart. They come to very good schools, right? They took the history lessons. I haven't gone to American middle school and high school, elementary school. So maybe something's wrong with this country's education system.

I think that's the only thing I can think of. They really get brainwashed. I love books.

It's the best thing that's ever created, I think. I mean, I used to say, of course, like George Orwell's book in 1984, Animal Farm. That changed my life. But I love books. And I think more people read books instead of going on TikTok and Instagram. It's a shame even I have to go on social media.

I'm not on TikTok, but to relay my message. But I think I cannot believe that the shallowness and how people do not even know the basic things anymore. So the only thing you can do is I guess we have to pray. We need some power, some help from higher place at this point. And hoping for the best.

Thank you. I became American this year and I'd say I know. It's to me like becoming an American is like worth more than winning billion lottery tickets. So I used to, so it bothered me, like, how can you be not jumping up and down every second that you live in America? So when people see how much they are so angry, like, yeah, you need to go to North Korea.

Yes. I love people in North Korea and I love Chinese people, obviously. I love all the people. But, you know, after you go through all of that, I feel like I live like at least a thousand years by now. So whatever I've got afterwards is some kind of bonus life. And so I wouldn't mind even if I get cared for fighting what I believe. Right. And that'd be a glorious life to me now. Home is America and I'm ready to die for this country, too.

Thank you. I think when I hear this word, freedom is not free. It's very true because it took entire my family's lives for me to have this voice today because I spoke up. And Kim Jong-un not only put me on his killing list, but he he took entire my three generations families lives with him. I think I think that's the reason why I'm warning America right now. The consequences of us standing up for truth right now is maybe losing jobs, maybe getting harassed on Twitter, getting cancer, maybe de-performed.

But that is going to go to the extent of like becoming like China, North Korea, where they're going to kill three generations family if one person descends. And I think that's why we need to fight back before it's too late. A lot of people actually even ask me like, like, how are you not crazy? Like, how are you saying? I mean, they somehow expect a survivor going through something like that. And then they expect us to be damaged.

And I found that very interesting. I was writing my first book and I had an agent in New York and she was telling me, you and me, you're traumatized. You need to go see a therapist. So I asked like, what is therapist? Right?

Like a North Korean. I mean, this is like fifth dimension thing. And then she's like, it's somewhere you go and tell them complaining about your feelings and how you feel so bad. And then there's something called PTSD. It's a real thing. You need to cure it. I asked like, is it free?

No, of course not. It's like she's going to charge you $250 for per hour. And of course, I didn't have the money, but a second one I thought. So if I had gone through all of that and all I'm going to be doing now is going to be complaining about it.

Why did I even survive it in the first place? But I think also this is why I keep talking to people is that I think having the perspective, I mean, even knowing what trauma is, is a privilege. If we really want to talk about privilege, that's the thing. If you know you're depressed, if you know you're oppressed, even that's a privilege. People in North Korea have does not know what oppression is. They do not know that they are oppressed. And when people say they are oppressed in America, I'm like, you do not you are not oppressed. Right.

That's not like the people who can know. So I think keeping that perspective where I came from and how can I be even grateful for for this air, for this freedom? I never have to worry about getting executed tonight. That helps. I think that's what we need in this country to keep going.

That keeping the perspective that how lucky we are. And a terrific job on the production and editing by Greg Hengler. A special thanks to Yanmi Park for sharing her story and the Young America's Foundation for providing this story. It's so important that all Americans not only listen to this, but share it. Her dear leader in North Korea, who had promised to end inequality. Well, he turned our nation, our country into a concentration camp, Yanmi said.

The enemy isn't inequality, she added, it's poverty. Her favorite books, it turns out, 1984 in Animal Farm by George Orwell. Becoming an American citizen, well, it's worth more than a billion lottery tickets.

I'm living a bonus life. The story of Yanmi Park, a story of freedom here on Our American Stories. Another week, another free pass to entertainment. Check out all the shows and movies you can watch with Xfinity Flex, no strings attached.

Face the darkness in the season two premiere of Yellow Jackets from Showtime. Crack open the history vault and dig into shows like America, The Story of Us. Then watch free picks from networks like Disney Stories Central and more with the kids.

Give your ears some love with Hit Nation Junior on iHeartRadio. Easily discover new free content each week across the best streaming apps. Say free this week into your Xfinity voice remote. Most TVs are smart nowadays, but with busy home screens and remotes with too many or too few buttons, smart shouldn't mean complicated. That's why Roku TV is the smart TV made easy. The customizable home screen puts your inputs, streaming favorites like iHeart and free live TV all in one place. From simple settings anyone can understand, automatic updates with the latest features and much more. Roku TV is more than a smart TV, it's a better TV. Learn more today at roku.com. Happy streaming.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-09 04:12:59 / 2023-03-09 04:23:51 / 11

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