In the last few centuries, many people across the world have come to realize that all people must be allowed to have certain rights. Such rights are said to include the right to have access to enough food each day to allow them to remain healthy as well as shelter over their heads to enable them to avoid problems from exposure to cold or heat that may otherwise endanger their health. Other rights are also said to include the right to be able to speak out against government policies they find less than ideal or policies that they feel may be actively dangerous.
Human rights activists in recent years have increasingly come to focus their attention on the nation of North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated nations. What little information that has filtered about this nation has come from a few sources including a handful of North Koreans such as Yeonmi Park who have been able to leave this nation after living here. She and her fellow nationals have left this nation despite the hardships of doing so and despite the risks they face should they get caught doing so.
The reason that many people have left this nation is largely because it is badly ruled and because the lives of those living there are marked by almost surreal hardships of all kinds that most people find hard to image. Sadly, as Yeonmi Park points out, such hardships are all too real for those who must stay in this nation. They find that living here means facing a land that is periodically stalked by famine that can stunt the growth of many North Korean children and make survival hard for those adults who stay here. They also face a nation in which living here means living with the constant intrusion of the state and the intrusions of neighbors who are devoted to the ideology of communist and the nation’s cult of personality that is centered around the ruler of the land. His work is constantly hailed as that of essentially a godlike figure who must not be questioned in any way and who must be blindly followed and admired.
The few who are able to escape this nation such as Park find it hard to convey exactly what it means to live in a society where all citizens are closely supervised at all turns and their lives carefully controlled in service of the state. Park has added her shy yet firm and brave voice to those who feel that such a state is intolerable and a gross violation of the world of human rights that every single national across the world deserves. She has spoken out loudly to the world about the hellish conditions that marked her childhood when she lived here and still make life extremely difficult for most North Koreans who are still forced to live here even against their wishes and against the conventions of world human rights that apply to all of the world’s peoples.