Three North Korean defectors spoke Monday about their escape from the socialist country and their transition into their new lives at a panel hosted by Boston University’s Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) student group.
Gwangsung Jung, one of the defectors, said it was difficult adjusting to a different life after escaping North Korea in 2006, but he is grateful for the opportunities he has had since. “You have to remember that I was brainwashed for a big part of my life, so I had to start studying everything from zero,” he said during the panel. “The hardest part was learning English because in North Korea, we were taught that Americans were the enemy.”
Sejun Park, another defector, said poverty is a serious problem in North Korea and contributes to citizens’ isolation. “Koreans live isolated from any type of information entry,” he said on the panel. “They are completely controlled and have no form of comparing their lives to other countries. Therefore, they do not know about human rights.”
Eunju Kim, the final panelist and defector, said as a former student in the North Korean education system, she was subjugated to watch severe acts of violence, such as public executions. “When you are watching the public execution, … it was part of the education in North Korea,” she said on the panel. “During the long famine, there was no humanity left to people in North Korea. My father’s friend, he stole food from my father’s funeral.”
[Daily Free Press]