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tv   Yeonmi Park In Order to Live  CSPAN  September 4, 2018 12:14am-12:50am EDT

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[inaudible conversations] >> host: yeonmi, what is free chain number nine? >> guest: the train of the carriage that transports food and other things that will be going to the leader and people in the party. they have to get examined to
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enter that carriage. i think i was the train my father used to =tranfour other commodities. unlike other trains and carriages. >> host: so only the kim family was allowed to have contents in train number nine. what kind of contents were on the train? >> guest: i remember a big pair was really big and the person who is carrying that
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how it is being produced because those are foods transferred to pyongyang and there was more food items they were transporting to pyongyang. >> host: yeonmi, in your book "in order to live," you write that you would've done anything for a bowl of rice. >> guest: yeah. >> host: anything. what does that mean? >> guest: now i'm eating salad if that is -- to me a salad meant food. i was so offended -- [inaudible] i had to eat them because i was starting when i was young. hunger was just never hunger.
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it was daily life that when you're hungry, it's a direct relay to your life, your entire existence. to this day i have a fluted session that i get panic attacks if i know that i don't have food i can eat. when we were camping i had to know how easily can i have access to food. and when i get at night to this day, i want to eat as much as i can because i know when i was done i did not know when i would have another opportunity to eat again. when i had the chance i had to eat as much as i can for survival. that is how different.
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[inaudible] >> host: you also write in your book that you needed special permission to eat beef. >> guest: yeah, and north korea we don't have cows. the individuals we don't all house or anything but it's all under the state. the man who had tb in the ape cow and he was executed for that. some other cause to die from the
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disease. i never tasted cow when i was in north korea. i never had a steak. never knew what that was. >> host: what do you remember about making the decision to defect from north korea? when was that idea formed? >> guest: this formed when i was -- in early 2000, back when things were very desperate in my family that we were not able to find food. >> host: when you talk about not being able to find food, would you go days or a day without eating? >> guest: sometimes you have food every day. sometimes you have many days without food, and that is why we
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ate one or two potatoes a day. we can say that is not enough -- [inaudible] frozen potatoes. they are too expensive. we cannot afford that. they would starve if -- [inaudible] my father was training in selling and you can find and i
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go to catch the grasshoppers and a lot of plants. those things are so scarce. everyone is looking for food. now the estimate of 10 million are starving in north korea. the people i was able -- [inaudible] >> host: okay, so you made -- tell me about the decision-making process to get out of the country. >> guest: yeah, the decision-making process is that i did not have internet so obviously i did not know was happening in the rest of the world.
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the advantage i had was the border town of north korea, so close to china. we do not have electricity, so coming out of china. [inaudible] i had no idea what was going to happen so i don't die from starvation. >> host: what you remember about seeing the light and is it shamed by china? what do you remember about seeing the lights in the fireworks and even the fruit smells you talk about when you drift over to north korea. >> guest: [inaudible]
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all i had was this envy, that i envy people that were across the border. i couldn't believe how they can determine someone's life that much. because i was born on the side of the river i had to be a slave. but because other people were born, they had elect tri-city, pave the roads, honda cars. it was and heaven at the same time. >> host: what did it cost your family to come across that river come to be smuggled the river? [inaudible] >> host: for how long?
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>> guest: two years. yeah, that's a north korean women used to do. they gave the terror of oppression and hunger and the price to get a north korea. i mean, go to china and being tortured and they are being sent back to north korea to get killed and punished. [inaudible] >> host: yeonmi, was it worth the price? >> guest: yeah, of course.
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i am the only one of the lucky ones who made it. so many people paid a more enormous price than i did and were never able to reach what i have here. but of course, i mean, i have food and i have asked for it to come to las vegas. and what i have now, no one is going to kill me for this. i've would do everything i could to be free and fight for my life. >> host: in your book "in order to live," you talk about the fact that the kim family could read your mind. >> guest: it is like north korea is one of the religions in the world. they told us that our leaders
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created this nation that was kim jong sometime. for the rest of our life the universe have them. they were ridiculous. [inaudible] >> host: yeonmi park come you writing your book that the 1960s, the 1970s were very different time then when you grew up. was it a paradise in the 60s and 70s? >> guest: it was not paradise. they have no idea of the concept of the movement or religion. but they were not actually
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starving. even though they were for her particular reasons. not only do they have no political life. they don't have basic life that required people to be alive. asking for freedom of religion and movement. our problems are too much. i never knew that is what they can do. and north korea, [inaudible] kim jong un. you are very charming person. not many people are like that
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get most of the people are starving. they have a really big rally, they are happy people. i think that even though kim jong un -- [inaudible] he knows that he cannot be a god that's why he chooses to start people to get control of the population. >> host: is it inevitable that the kim dynasty continues in today's world of the internet and in that communication? >> guest: i do think people are seeing north korea, just like myself who escape, we still remain in touch with them. we called them in north korea.
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and now 75% of people have the information. we just knew that comment be like myself -- [inaudible] in north korea using human slavery. they are using entire populations and the international society, then it's inevitable for them to collapse. i don't see how they will go
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again and again. if i ever think about the leaders. and those people got killed? no. that's why it's important for us to let them know that they are slaves and then they could be like us. >> host: your mother was purdue oil north korean, correct? >> guest: yes, very loyal. when kim died she did not know know -- she thought that was the end of the universe. a lot of north koreans after they've escape comment in my escape when they escaped to
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china, kim is so bad. i [inaudible] he's a great leader. the people working for him is bad. he's a great, great guy. that's what i did because i was so brainwashed. my mom knows now about the truth. i think the only thing that i would make sure when i talk to people is that life doesn't have power. but the rest is the one thing i'm so sad about. we humanize the north korean population. we kind of portrayed them whose brainwashed, who cannot understand that democracy. that is not true.
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look at south korea. in the same country where thousands and thousands of years. the system is a problem, not the people. when the people are the problem, they are not likewise. people say why didn't she put up this thing? [inaudible] they don't know that they are slaves. they are human rights, human beings. everything can be good. >> host: yeonmi park, did you realize you weren't happy as a child? did you have a happy childhood at all?
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>> guest: i honestly i was very happy. i i had very loving parent that they prioritized me. but i was a very hopeless child. in north korea, it is your faith that is determined before your birth. before i was born, my father said if my grandpa [inaudible] and if i have a child -- [inaudible] pimco society was so hard. there is no calling in north
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korea. they were hungry and desperate and scared to not conflict the that don't even whisper. the most important thing was the family to me that thinking back to my childhood -- [inaudible] >> your sister, your mother, your father today. >> host: and where did he die? >> guest: in china. my mother in south korea in the countryside and she is in south
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korea. i'm an american -- [inaudible] >> now, i'm not. >> host: are you going to go for your citizenship? >> guest: of course. if this country without me, i'd be honored. >> host: yeonmi park, what year did you cross that river? >> guest: it was 2007, march 31st. >> host: how old were you? >> guest: 13. >> host: you were in the hospital. my mother made a bad bet that because we had no money to bribe them, my mother had to do everything from keeping my incision clean to giving me whatever food she could find. the hospital is poorly equipped and filthy. to use the bathroom i had to get up and cross an open courtyard. but first i was too weak to stand. once i was well enough to walk to the bathroom, i discovered
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they use the courtyard. the whole time i was staying there, several bodies were stacked like wood between my room and the outhouse. even more horrible what the rats that feasted on them day and night. it was the most terrible sight i have ever seen. the first thing the rats eat are the eyes because that is the softest part of the body. i can still see those hollow red eyes. they come to me and my nightmares and a break up screaming. do you still have those nightmares? you were third team at the time. right after that, how quickly did you leave the country after that incident at the hospital? >> guest: the next morning -- [inaudible]
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>> host: how much money and how many people knew that you were leaving? [inaudible] my mother and myself tried to find where my sister went and she was in china [inaudible] sheen is to come with me to china because if i left her there i knew she was going to die. >> host: you couldn't barely walk. >> guest: no, because my incision. we had to cross the river until the darkness comes. but could not cross anywhere. not many people are coming by.
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>> host: is smuggling a big business in north korea? >> guest: present the only way the companies are bankrupt. the system is bankrupt. they need more in china to survive. i [inaudible] if it doesn't come from china. >> host: there's a picture in your book or the stand front of pyongyang in front of a palace or something and you have a t-shirt on that says in english. just though it was from china. >> host: you are allowed to wear and english? s. cannot be marketed the government changed the regulations. and you can be punished while you're there. >> host: what was the biggest
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surprise to you want to cut across the border, the biggest shock? [inaudible] and in north korea coming we did not talk about the natural disaster. so they know what that was. that was something unheard of. like i never thought about it. so that was my first thing i saw it in north korea. >> host: what is your view of america and americans and do you ever see on a map? >> guest: no. i never saw a map of the world.
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[inaudible] and i knew the americans said if i come back. see how many americans in a new china and russia, maybe japan, but that is. i did not know, european countries, australia. i've never seen a picture of colored people are white people. they look like monsters -- [inaudible] poster we are here in las vegas
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at freedom fest. the first time he came to vegas, what was going in your mind? >> guest: it was alarming. i mean, people really live life, like really enjoying my beard that's what people do. they should have room to choose what they do. but i feel like [inaudible] like we don't know what is happening. this humanity moving forward --
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[inaudible] the technology, this intelligence that we don't even know where we are heading to. and sometimes it upsets me to know that we care about climate change, care about equality, care about animal rights, care about so many things. i couldn't understand why people had no room for those people. but not the 25 million people being punished in the first
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place. i'm not saying that north korea is a disaster. it is unthinkable -- [inaudible] for the rest of humanity. there is a lot going on. i [inaudible] >> host: it looks like we might be moving into a new diplomatic world with north korea. >> guest: why he's doing not not -- [inaudible]
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and that's what he got executed four. north korea had no intention. so that is not the violation. [inaudible] >> host: yeonmi park, what are you doing today? >> guest: i am a mother. i am a student and now i am running -- [inaudible] with my partner for north korea was actually at the state of the union that i am trained to rescue my fellow trapped in china like myself was. we get information inside north korea that they are slaves.
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it is a paradise. i do know that. north korea -- [inaudible] [inaudible] the north korean people have to be in the movement. we cannot force that. we can only empower the movement. >> host: you go to columbia university. what are you studying? [inaudible] >> host: you said your mother as well? >> guest: i have a five -month-old.
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[inaudible] when people ask me [inaudible] now it's clear because you might get bombed by then someday. before that, why if we can care about animal rights. [inaudible] that we cannot kill another human being. just been sold for $100 at this point. it is like having too much. we can say that we are different. i think what it means to be a
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human being is a constant question i'm asking myself. i think the men searching for meaning. [inaudible] and their effect dead as high as possible. [inaudible] but i will help them to be free. >> host: yeonmi park is the author. the book is called "in order to live." thank you for joining us on booktv. just a thank you for having me. it's a real honor. thank you for giving me this platform, this stage.
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>> i am reading everything. some people go to psychiatrist. i read for therapy or so this weekend for instance i read michael chertoff's new book on privacy, which is really good and had some privacy legislation to introduce. i also read romance come as by thrillers. i want to know newt gingrich's latest book by brett bair's latest book. i could bring my kindle up for you. i read everything. i read an average of the book a day or about every other day. >> host: what you have on the kindle? >> guest: the book i'm reading today, i first learned about the bad nuclear crisis several years ago in learning about their capabilities. this is teaches you a lot about dan rather of the road as it is, james copper and of course i
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have to read a book about trumps america. i have a ton of other books. i wrote james patterson, one of my favorite authors. i finished bill clinton's book the day it came out. i finished the other book today that it came out. so i read everything. including a little light romance can escape the world. [inaudible conversations] >> good evening, everyone. welcome to the strand bookstore. i am the owner of this


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