Written by a dissident writer still living inside the country, “The Accusation; Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea” is a collection of short stories about the lives of regular people, who live without freedom and under constant scrutiny.
Officially fiction, the book is considered to be a reflection of life under North Korean rule. The author is known simply as “Bandi”, Korean for firefly, a pen name he apparently chose himself.
The South Korean activist who helped smuggle it out, Do Hee-youn, tells CNN: “It doesn’t deal with political prison camps, or public executions, human rights issues. It shows normal life of North Korea citizens and it is very frightening. This book shows that they live like slaves.”
The book was published last month in the United States and United Kingdom, and is now available in 19 languages.
Do said he first heard about the manuscript completely by chance. “We heard about a North Korean defector,” Do told CNN, “A woman who had been arrested by Chinese border troops… We have been helping such cases in the past so we were helping her and we learned about Bandi and the manuscript.”
The woman told them Bandi was a relative and Do sent a trusted contact into North Korea to make discreet contact with the author. The hand-written manuscript was then smuggled out in between propaganda books on former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
Do says the author Babdi is now retired and still living in North Korea but gives little else away, fearful the regime will discover his identity. Do has little doubt Bandi is still writing and at some point in the future will attempt to share with the world his views of life under the current leader Kim Jong Un.