“Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.”
― Bob Marley
(The following excerpt from The Underground Railroad From North Korea To Freedom by Scott A. Snyder was originally posted on blogs.dfr.org on October 16, 2012. To read it in its entirety please click the link below.)
Former deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal Melanie Kirkpatrick has written a compelling book describing the tortuous path North Koreans must undertake across China to freedom in South Korea and other countries in the West. The book captures the multiple paths that desperate North Koreans have taken upon their departure from North Korea through China and other countries to safety in South Korea and the West. It champions the sacrifices of a range of dedicated individuals outside North Korea who have risked their lives to assist North Koreans in their road to freedom and to provide information back to North Korea about the outside world. And it savages the policies of governments including China, the United States, and South Korea’s progressive administrations for turning a blind eye to the suffering of North Koreans who are victims of an uncompromising totalitarian political system.
Escape From North Korea highlights the tragic human consequences of North Korea’s systemic failure. North Korea’s famine in the late 1990s broke the hermetic seal that had previously shrouded the worst aspects of the North Korean system from the outside world; with growing flows of refugees came testimony to a political system that imposes absolute control by punishing even relatives of individuals accused of political dissent.
The conditions reported by North Korean refugees who have experienced detention in North Korea are exactly the circumstances that the world has resolved should never be allowed to happen again. But it is happening, and Melanie Kirkpatrick’s book provides a call for action.