Her debut book, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom (2016), recounted, first, her life in the incomparably vile Hermit Kingdom, where there were no words for tyranny, trauma, depression, or love, and where, for nourishment (and long before Klaus Schwab decreed that it was our common culinary destiny) she captured and ate insects on the way to school; second, her 2007 escape to China, where at thirteen she was a sex slave; and, third, her 2009 flight to South Korea, where she began to learn what it meant to be free.
In sum, a remarkable story of triumph against extraordinary odds. But Yeonmi Park’s newly published second book, While Time Remains: A North Korean Defector’s Search for Freedom in America, carries a message that’s even more relevant to Western readers.
For Park, South Korea was a revelation; landing there, after living in two Communist dictatorships, “was like traveling through space and time.” But it was nothing compared to America – to which, after being taken by Christian missionaries to Texas and Georgia, she returned to attend an anti-North Korea “hackathon” in California (although she wasn’t quite sure what hacking was).
“There are a number of places that are even more spectacular in person than they are in legend,” Park writes. “The same is rarely true of countries as a whole.” But for her it was most assuredly true of America, whose people she found to be astonishingly friendly, self-confident, and open – “clearly the descendents, I thought, of those who overturned imperialism and slavery, defeated fascism and communism, invented motion pictures and jazz, eliminated diseases, created the internet, and landed on the moon.”
In 2014, Park became an international sensation when a speech she gave in Dublin went viral. Soon afterwards I saw her speak at the Oslo Freedom Forum. It was there that she first heard about a U.S. residency visa for which she might be eligible. She applied, and was accepted. Shortly afterwards she flew to New York for the first time. If her delight in America had exceeded her wonder at South Korea, her awe at the Big Apple’s grandeur, dynamism, and diversity outstripped everything. In 2o15, she moved there.
Then she enrolled at Columbia University – and the bloom fell from the rose. Even before classes started, her professors and fellow students began trying to destroy her adoration of America: at orientation, an instructor told her that Jane Austen’s novels promoted “female oppression, racism, colonialism, and white supremacy.” In a freshman course on Western music, her classmates agreed with the instructor (whose hands, he lamented, were tied by the core curriculum) that studying dead white men like Beethoven and Mozart was problematic. When Park tried gently to push back, the instructor suggested that she’d been “brainwashed.”
So it went for four years. Too often at Columbia, Park encountered indoctrination, not education; instead of experiencing lively debate, she heard students mindlessly parrot their professors’ denunciations of “capitalism, Western civilization, white supremacy, systematic racism, oppression of minorities, colonialism, etc.” Talk about being brainwashed! For Park, it was all too reminiscent of North Korea – and a betrayal of the America she’d fallen in love with. This is, note well, a woman who, when she quotes the First Amendment, makes you read it with fresh eyes, and makes you see anew just how remarkable it is.
And yet Columbia and other Ivies teach young Americans to despise it.
It was at Columbia that Park first heard about “safe spaces” and “triggering.” She met rich kids with “made-up problems” – callow twits who “created injustice out of thin air” but had no clue as to “what injustice looks like in the world.” She saw boys twice her size break into tears over nonsense. “A lecture about Homer,” she recalls, “would end with a white student crying about colonialism.”
Then there was “misgendering.” One biological male who went by “they/their” admonished Park for calling him he. If she chose not to strike back by “tell[ing] this fragile soul about life in North Korea versus life in America,” it was because she saw “real suffering” in his eyes: he “truly felt threatened, harmed, and oppressed.” And she genuinely sympathized, understanding that he’d been indoctrinated – just as she’d been in North Korea.
But Park wasn’t entirely immune to progressive lies. Reading the New York Times and Washington Post daily, she had no doubt that Trump was indeed a “fascist” and “would-be dictator.” When friends vowed that they’d move to Canada if he won, she believed them; when he did win, she bought the lie that Putin was behind it.
She’d learn the truth soon enough – and much of that learning took place on the lecture circuit. Attending a 2014 women’s conference alongside Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep, Park described women’s suffering in North Korea, but discovered that this glitzy gathering was all about “the suffering of women in America” – for example, “being only the vice president of a Fortune 500 company rather than the CEO.”
Then Jeff Bezos flew her on a Gulfstream to a Santa Barbara event called Campfire, where another star-studded crowd (Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon) cheered Harvey Weinstein’s rags-to-riches story. They also applauded Park’s talk about North Korea – until she started in on the evils of China. These elites’ wealth, she came to realize, depended largely on the CCP. They were, Park grasped, “more immoral than I’d thought they were,” and events like Campfire, swathed in noble rhetoric, were fundamentally unserious – opportunities for the beau monde to schmooze. (Later, by the way, when Weinstein was disgraced, Park asked someone she’d met at Campfire if she’d known about Weinstein’s conduct. “[O]f course she knew – everyone did.”)
On, then, to the 2017 Met Gala, where Park reflected that Pyongyang’s stereotypes of Western shallowness and materialism “might actually contain a hint of truth.” Still, she kept showing up at these glitterati conclaves, hoping to help her homeland. But the big shots, obsessed with Trump and climate change, didn’t give a damn about North Koreans.
And what of China, whose power over U.S. elites Park depicts so chillingly? It was, alas, her bluntness on this topic that turned her from an elite darling into a persona non grata. A Samsung subsidiary canceled a talk by her; so did the FBI’s Dallas field office. Park’s YouTube channel on North Korea got millions of hits – but when she covered China’s enslavement of North Koreans, her videos were demonetized. (Meanwhile, YouTube continues to host DPRK videos in which Park’s North Korean relatives and neighbors denounce her.)
Then Critical Race Theory and the “anti-racism” movement came onto her radar, reminding her of Juche – the Kims’ official ideology, “with its arcane vocabulary and impenetrable set of ideas that pretend to serve political change but really just sort ordinary people into different identity categories that keep them as separate as possible from the elite.” Having been “filled with joy” during her first American trips “to find that Dr. King’s dream was a reality” in the land of the free, Park understood at once just how anti-MLK CRT was.
Nor was she taken in by the woke crowd’s new race rules, whose utter absurdity was never clearer than when applied to her: she’d literally been a slave, but because she was Asian, the folks who adjudicated these things considered her white-adjacent and therefore an oppressor of 21st-century black Americans – whom they saw as still bearing slavery’s scars. (Regrettably, Park’s publisher, in line with CRT but in opposition to Park’s manifest sensibilities, has capitalized the word black throughout her book.)
In 2016, Park married. Two years later, she gave birth to a son. Last year, she became a U.S. citizen. God bless her. People like her – not that there are many of them – are America’s best hope. Her respect for its founding ideals, and her insights into the appalling ways in which many Americans today betray those ideals, are invaluable. Certainly few people’s life stories underscore as effectively as hers does the sheer inanity of the concept of group victimhood. In a recent interview with the Canadian author and podcaster Gad Saad, Park admitted that in her first book, on the advice of her publishers, she’d bitten her tongue about wokeness. No more.
Park shared with Saad, incidentally, one more story that revealed China’s influence in the U.S. today. Some Hollywood studio, she told Saad, purchased the film rights to her first book and eventually sent her a draft screenplay. To her shock, it portrayed her deliverance into freedom as taking place not in South Korea or America but – guess where? – in China.
Yes, this Tinseltown script transformed China – where the government harvests the organs of North Korean refugees – into Park’s “promised land.” This is precisely the kind of toxic thinking that goes on nowadays in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles – and that decent Americans need to be aware of and to stand up to. In While Time Remains, Yeonmi Park does a wise and valiant job of showing us how.
Mo de Profit says
“ But for her it was most assuredly true of America, whose people she found to be astonishingly friendly, self-confident, and open ”
That’s always been my view too, I have friends who don’t agree and they say it’s all fake. In places like Hollywood, they may be right, where they have lied about this woman’s journey through China just for the love of money.
Jeff Bargholz says
I saw that chick on TV yesterday. What a little hottie.
She said she used to be a sex slave. I feel very bad about that. The poor girl.
She should be with me. I would treat her right.
Banastre Tarleton says
You’re a deviant and give us conservatives a bad image .. you should be with those freaks in the Dem Party
Jeff Bargholz says
You'[re a dick licker. Normal guys like hot chicks, you faggot.
And you’re about as conservative as Nancy Pelousy.
Banastre Tarleton says
Anyone from a former communist country will instantly recognise that the WEst are a parody of the former in embryonic form …
nor is it even slightly surprising that folks who had to endure those utopian political cults would want no part of a renewed version of it, even in a more humane and gentler form
This is EXACTLY what is happening in Russia with Putin who wants no part of the Globalist West’s suicidal open borders policy or the spread of LGBTQ pernicious ideology . The Russians are trying to recover from that 70 year Utopian cult
The political poles are being reversed as it’s now the West who are the idealogues and a menace to world peace
Kynarion Hellenis says
You have spoken the ugly truth.
Banastre Tarleton says
This is what happens when God is banished from the political landscape , insomuch, the religious impulse is shoe horned into secular religions like communism or neo-pagan environmentalism .. The West is in the grip of secular religious fanatics determined to build a brave new world … Liberal-Bolsheviks
The WEF is conducting an all out assault on the West’s fundamental values and traditions. Under the new Karl Marx, Klaus Schwab is succeeding where Marx could not get a foothold. While no one was looking the Marxists infiltrated higher learning and has had great success in pushing “critical” theories which are the basic tools needed to tear down the fundamental building blocks of Western culture. I’m not sure if Schwab and his compatriots were instrumental in this movement or just Johnny-come-lately opportunists. Nevertheless, they see themselves as the new world religion that will re-write the laws governing the economy, the culture and the future of mankind.
Banastre Tarleton says
yep, The Left made the long march through the institutions and then made
their move in the 2020 covid panic with a Flu D’etat
Things are moving fast now and they will either trigger WW3 with Russia or
bankrupt us , maybe both
Dana F Harbaugh says
I heard Kamala Harris is going to China to find the root causes of Marxist death camps and mass graves.
“Students mindlessly parrot their professors’ denunciations of “capitalism,
Western civilization, white supremacy,
systematic racism, oppression of minorities, colonialism, etc.” Talk about being brainwashed! ”
That is PARTLY true,about the WOKIST ideas. But they are also GLOBALISTS,and 70% of Americans 18-30 are wokists. They will never denounce this:
1. The 800 US military bases around the world.
2. That while 1 TRILLION will be paid in interest payment for the 31.5 trillion debt, nothing will be done
to reduce the 800 BILLION spent on military spending.
3. Nor denounce that in APRIL 2022 Biden changed to a
Strike FIRST with a NUCLEAR arm policy,
even against a country with NO nuclear arms ( like IRAN).
Nor that in 2018 TRUMP unilaterally got out of the 1987 INF Treaty. That was between REAGAN and GORBACHEV and
ELIMINATED 2,700 short and medium range NUCLEAR missiles ( 500 km-5,500 km).
It also PROHIBITED those nuclear missiles INSIDE Europe for 30 decades. How could Trump be so stupid?
It is worse,those wokesters at the universities will never,never denounce,even though they consider Western civilization to be the WORST in history,
the sanctions against SYRIA in 2017,by Trump, that are severe and still exist,and that
have made 90% of Syrians fall into EXTREME poverty.
Even now,if you have friends,parents, siblings in Syria and you want to TRANSFER your own MONEY to Syria for
HUMANITARIAN aid, the US sanctions BLOCK it.
You don’t ‘credit’ obama for establishing those sanctions (not to mention initiating the use of force) or biden for continuing them, even though he, the democrat party, and the msm made a point of undoing everything Trump did that benefited the USA.
It’s Trump’s fault. /s
Chatworth Osborne Jr. says
I’ll reply to just one of the points you made. There are not 800 US military bases around the world.
There are close to 200 countries in the world. If we had bases in 10% of the world, we would have 40 bases in each of those 20 countries. It’s just not true.
Checking further I found out that in:
” 750 military base sites estimated in around 80+ foreign countries and colonies/territories.
75-85% of the world’s foreign military bases
AND UK=145; Russia = 12-36; China = 8 (plus Tibet)
119 base sites in Germany;
119 in Japan;
73 in South Korea;
44 in Italy.
Others in Aruba, Bahrain, Cuba, Djibouti, Estonia, Greece, Honduras, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Spain, Tunisia, UK, US Virgins, Wake Island.
Pentagon figure of 625 base sites
omits bases in Iraq, Syria, Niger, and many other well-known (e.g., Kuwait, Kosovo) and secretive bases (Israel, Saudi Arabia). “
About the 800 BILLION per year spent on the military in the US, it is 10 TIMES that of
RUSSIA ( 61 billion per year).
A) Yet Russia has developed HYPERSONIC missiles and is 10 years in advance. The US not yet.
The secret is the MIC (Military-Industrial Complex) of Russia is of the STATE.
B) In the US the MIC is PRIVATE and for PROFIT only,and it is not one, but SEVERAL competing companies.
C) Thus it is a scam,they receive money from the US government,are NOT really interested in finishing a task,like creating a hypersonic missile,
but PROLONG its creation, always ask for MORE and more MONEY, fail again on purpose,say they need to try a new way,and ask for more money,etc.
Yea, blame the defense industry, not the ones that make the rules. I’m sure the defense industry, and all their techs and machinists would be happy to deliver 200 stealth bombers for the price of 200, instead of 25 for the price of 200. But that’s not their, or even their company’s decision to make.
It might be better to ask why the US government doesn’t take delivery on what it buys, We taxpayers bought the highly capable EFV to replace the 50 year old 1972 deathtrap AAVs. The US government just didn’t take delivery. Same with the F-22, 125 for the price of 750. But hey, politicians get to claim they’re cutting defense spending, and few of us outside the defense industry know any better. Too bad for service members and the taxpayer.
Jeff Bargholz says
Ouch! !Research hurts when a person doesn’t want to hear it..
We spent a lot of blood and treasure the last time we had to fight our way across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and I lost family to do it, I’m fine with 800 overseas bases. Your biggest b*tch with trump is the IMF treaty? What is it worth now? What was it worth when trump pulled out, after obama gave up verification? Odd that you blame Trump for pulling out of it, but not obama for making it meaningless.
THX 1138 says
I heard of her a few weeks ago for the first time. I definitely want to read her book.
But what difference does it make? At this point in time it definitely looks like America and the West is headed for a New Dark Age of Unreason.
I’ll tell you what will happen. First, the Socialist-Marxist-Globalist-Wokists will prepare the ground for totalitarianism but their version of totalitarianism will be so outlandish, so beyond the pale irrational, that Americans will reject it simply because the healthy human mind can go only so far into the irrational. Even unreason has its limits.
So Americans will turn to religion as a more tolerable form of insanity. Even the insanity of Islam is more tolerable than the insanity of Wokism. Whether America and the West turn to Islam or Christianity, or some mixture, or maybe even some other religion can not be predicted. But secular Wokism is simply too insane for the human mind to cope with.
Wow, you even have crystal ball to beat us over the head with now.
I thought that Christianity and Judaism prepared the ground for totalitarianism. Now it’s the Socialist-Marxist-Globalist-Wokists, but nobody will by it.
And if nobody buys it why would they turn to religion….even though they already have from the beginning of the country..
Personally I think Objectivism is simply too insane for the human mind to cope with and you are the personification of it. There are so many holes in your post I stopped counting after 10,000.
Richard Terrell says
Hey, you forgot to include a quotation from Ayn Rand.
Jason P says
Yes, the left is absurd but people just pause until they become acclimatized, then the Overton window moves; and it moves left.
Religion doesn’t stop the slide into greater absurdity. We’ve all seen religious institutions become woke. Religion follows with a lag. No religious person today can imagine the faith of 800AD or even 1400AD. I don’t see religion stopping anything.
THX 1138 says
Unreason leads to unreason. There are 50 ways to Sunday for the permutations of unreason to unfold.
THX 1138 says
Looks like I’m on permanent moderation at FPM because my Objectivist viewpoint is actually unacceptable to religious conservatism.
Like I said first will come the intolerance of secular unreason to be replaced by the intolerance of religious unreason.
I get the moderation warning as well. It’s probably an algorithm thing designed to flag certain words
Sorry THX. You just aren’t that special.
Your narcissistic personality disorder is showing.
Jeff Bargholz says
I get that warning on every other comment I write. Greenfield says it isn’t directed at individuals, and I believe him, so I don’t give a shit anymore.
Not that I ever did.
Tortoise Herder says
I have also routinely gotten hit with moderation warnings, sometimes for days form a comment. Maybe you always have it with your comments, but I think it is more likely the mod staff or automation screwing over words.
Kynarion Hellenis says
Dinesh D’Souza recently interviewed her on his podcast. It was an excellent interview.
Yeonmi Park’ was on Larry Kudlow’s and Tucker Carlson’s shows last week. Riveting interviews.
“(Regrettably, Park’s publisher, in line with CRT but in opposition to Park’s manifest sensibilities, has capitalized the word black throughout her book.)”
Reminiscent of Michelle (“not very bright”) Obama’s Senior Thesis at Princeton where White and Black are capitalized throughout.
“God bless her. People like her – not that there are many of them – are America’s best hope. Her respect for its founding ideals, and her insights into the appalling ways in which many Americans today betray those ideals, are invaluable.”
Her authenticity and direct, personal experience shine through, , discounted as irrelevant, even dangerous, by would be elites.
“China’s influence in the U.S. today”.
Hollywood scripts subject to China’s review and approval, only one aspect of China’s incursions into the U.S. How insane we are.
What Yeonmi Park is saying…if it looks like Communism, smells like Communism and indoctrinates like Communism then it’s time to drop that silly word “WOKE” and use instead the word “COMMUNISM” but, apparently there aren’t any influential people in America who are BRAVE enough, ….in the home of the BRAVE…., to utter that simple truth. They would rather be politically correct and not offend the Commies for fear of a “McCarthyism” backlash.
The movie “The Killing Fields” shows the Khmer Rouge doing everything the Democrat Commies are doing in terms of indoctrination, censorship and oppression minus the direct slaughter of their citizens. The American Democrat Commies do that indirectly.
I’d say the “woke” ( I avoided using that word for the longest time) are largely naive and ignorant individuals, trained up (“educated”) in this nonsense to the point that it has deeply embedded itself in whatever small amount of grey matter they might have.
Individuals completely unaware that they are simply tools (disposable tools) in the Larger Agenda of Takeover,
The Agenda seems largely centered around power, that which a self-anointed ruling class feels is theirs and theirs alone. I try to avoid saying communism, not to mention that no alleged communist country has ever remotely come close to the dictatorship of the proletariat and all that.
Mo de Profit says
Agenda 2030 is the UN goal to depopulate the western world and create equity with Africa.
I agree. My pet peeve is that people call communists fascists. They are different. Communists as antifa under Stalin fought German fascists in WWII. Fascism, for all intents and purposes, though of course the left would not have you believe it so, was defeated at the end of WWII. The left still call their enemies fascists. Fascists now, as labeled by antifa and their ilk, are largely simply anticommunists. When people in general mislabel communists as fascists or call anyone fascist they are contributing to this long-standing practice of political disinformation and confusing the issue, which is exactly what the left wants. The last thing they want is someone calling them what they are, which are communists. The PRC, as communists, in control of so much of our media and elite, don’t want the word used. It’s taboo to even utter it. But no. Commies are commies are commies are commies and they are destroying our country for the utopian marxist revolution evil nonsense.
Kynarion Hellenis says
“People like her – not that there are many of them – are America’s best hope.”
People who live under repressive evil regimes appreciate that which we take for granted. We may all be like her one day, in our own land.
It is very difficult to restore freedom and liberty once it is lost.
“freedom and liberty ”
Chip chip chipping away, the obedience and compliance exhibited during the pandemic really got the Left excited.
Hedy Treloar says
Brilliant. She managed to hit the nail on the head, many times.
Ken Fuller says
We are a pretend nation. We pretend great oppression. We pretend victimization. We pretend a racist nation chock full of “ white supremacists. Men pretend to be women and vice versa. Whites pretend to be black or “ multiethnic”
We pretend that some clown wearing Viking horns came within a hairbreadth of overturning “ our previous democracy “ And we pretend for the last 40 years that the entire planet will be doomed within a decade unless WE DO SOMETHING NOW about climate change.
A pretend nation is a silly nation and silly nations don’t survive for long
A great comment. I would give you 10 up votes if I could. Remember when the Russians, under Soviet rule, used to say “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us”? The result, in both cases, is the same. Complete failure.
Andrew Blackadder says
The current youth generation of Americans are THE most narcissistic, self righteous,ignorant, cowardly,misinformed, shallow, blind, followers and brainwashed idiots that America has ever produced, they know nothing of the World and yet all that information is in the palm of their hands which they constantly look down at even as they walk down the street searching for their safe space so they can have a good cry because somebody called them a moron.
And that’s just the boys…