Activist Yeonmi Park Tells Her Story of Escaping North Korea

No matter where you are in the world, freedom is a universal concept. People from all parts of the world hear about what freedom means and what it is like in the United States. Individuals from all over the world trek to this country in order to take advantage of the liberties and freedoms that Americans have. But many times Americans themselves don’t realize how good they have it living in the United States. Sometimes it takes the words of a person on the outside to make individuals realize their unique gift.

Yeonmi Park is a North Korean activist who speaks to audiences around the world about her ordeals escaping from North Korea. Her tale is an amazing one, and shows not only the brutality of the North Korean regime, but the lengths some will go to escape that brutality and obtain freedom.

Park’s story begins as a child of nine living in North Korea. Her family both worked for the state government, her mother an Army medic nurse, and her father in a high position in the Workers’ Party. They lived in one of the major regions of North Korea, but was then moved to a lesser-known outpost region. There the family struggled, and Park’s father had to resort to illegally smuggling goods in order to feed his family. According to Park, there was no other choice in the matter. It was either do these illegal things or starve out right.

Park was deeply moved and inspired by an illegal copy of the American film “Titanic.” She was overwhelmed by the concept of seeing someone die for love instead of the wishes of the state. Seeing the movie made her understand that not only did she have a higher purpose, but that the North Korean government was wrong in how they treated their citizens.

Eventually, Park’s father was caught smuggling and indicted by the state. His sentence consisted of incarceration and hard labor, leaving the family to fend for themselves. Park’s father served years in prison, but was released in the midst of his incarceration due to a serious illness. When he was released, he began to devise an escape plan that would get him and his family out of North Korea. Unfortunately, he was too sick to undertake the trip and passed away while still in North Korea.

Park’s family began a treacherous journey, past the North Korean border into China. But while they were utilizing Chinese smugglers, one of them raped Park’s mother. Park could only watch as this brutality was being done. Eventually, the family continued their journey to freedom and finally crossed the border into Mongolia. When they crossed, they then enlisted the help of foreign diplomats who gave Park’s family safe passage into South Korea.

Now Parks speaks at many human rights functions and conferences on about the brutal dictatorship of North Korea. She wants to make sure that everyone knows and understands the type of inhumane brutality that goes on there, and how individuals can help to stop it through education and protest.

Carnival Company gives back to Kids who Missed Out

PS 120, an elementary school located in Flushing, Queens, New York, recently threw an end-of-the-years carnival celebration for their students. The kids were treated to rides, games, and sweet treats during the school day by Send in the Clowns Entertainment, hired by the school. However, not all kids from PS 120 were invited to partake in the fun.

According to the story on The NY Post, students were required to pay $10 for an entry fee into the carnival. Kids who were not able to pay the fee were forced to sit in the auditorium all day while their peers were out having fun. There were around 100 kids who came from immigrant or low-income families that were not able to afford the $10 entry fee. Sources say that some of those kids who were not able to participate were in tears while they listened to the other children enjoying the day outside.

Once Send in the Clowns heard about the children who were not able to afford to attend the event, they decided to throw a free carnival for those children. The owner of the company, Gary Pincus, said that the children matter most to him and that had he known earlier about the children who could not afford to attend, he would have paid for them.

Thanks to Jim Dondero for showing me this news!

Keith Mann battles cancer without the use of conventional medicines

Keith Mann is a well known animal rights activist who has been fighting to help save animals from mistreatment for the majority of his life. Mann has recently been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer known as follicular lymphoma that it is possible could be treated using conventional medicines. However, because of the strong stance Keith has taken on animal rights throughout his life he is not seeking the help of medicines that may have been tested on animals and will instead be pursuing natural remedies, an article posted to Buzzfeed reports.

Keith Mann’s career as a campaigner for animal rights has taken him in a number of different directions, including to stand in the 2008 general election as a candidate for the Animal Welfare Party, which former CNN host Piers Morgan recently backed. Mann has been arrested on a number of occasions because of his beliefs that animals have rights, which began when he completed a short work placement while at school. Working at a dairy farm Mann asked why the cows were making a noise similar to crying and was told they were grieving for the calves taken from them to increase milk production.

His beliefs have led Keith Mann to question how he will treat his own form of cancer, which can be treated but has no known cure. Instead of using medications created by pharmaceutical companies whose practices he opposes Mann will instead seek the use of natural remedies such as Gerson Therapy to aid his fight and is seeking contributions to his treatment made through his Website.

Watch a BBC interview with Mann

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