One of the places around the world that has captured my heart is one of it’s most oppressed- North Korea.
SHIFT is happening in North Korea - The North Korea I’ve come to know is much different from the North Korea you typically see on TV.
From August to December 2012, I interned with LiNK- Liberty in North Korea, a non-profit dedicated to redefining North Korea by its people by promoting awareness and allocating resources towards the rescue and resettlement of refugees and pursuing an end to the crisis.In case you’re only vaguely familiar with what’s going on in North Korea, I’d strongly encourage you to investigate, and to talk to me about it. Here’s a quick overview, though. The human rights crisis in North Korea has many elements, including a food crisis, political prisoners and torture, lack of essential freedoms, and a desperate refugee situation that leads to the abuse of many people. North Koreans are indoctrinated to worship a political regime that is highly oppressive. Their government prohibits freedoms of speech, assembly, press, and religion, and access to outside information is censored and inhibited. Natural disasters, famine, and gross governmental mismanagement have also led to an ongoing food crisis. North Korea relies heavily on food aid, but because of discriminatory distribution, it has been a challenge to ensure that the aid winds up where it belongs. Those who wish to escape their situation have no easy option to do so. The North Korean government holds up to 200,000 persons in political prison camps, where they are subject to torture, abuse, violence, forced labour, and execution. Most refugees attempt to escape to China, however China has a policy of returning all refugees to North Korea, where they are sure to wind up in such a camp. In other cases many refugees are caught up into human trafficking circles. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to the sex trade and to forced labour.
My internship with LiNK allowed me to help fight this crisis by doing one of my favourite things… taking a road trip! As a “nomad,” I went on tour from city to city around the United States, to different high schools, universities, and places of worship. I spread awareness of the crisis through film screenings, Q&A, and other events. At these gatherings, I also raised funds that go towards the rescue and resettlement of refugees.
My friend Danny is from North Korea, and he has an amazing story.
On North Korea…
- SHIFT is happening in North Korea - The North Korea I’ve come to know is much different from the North Korea you typically see on TV.
- Nothing to Envy - A review of the book Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. (07/12/12)
- Why I’m Skipping Out on Red Dawn - How the remake of the 80s film is furthering a perception of North Korea that empowers its regime and obscures its people. (25/11/12)
- TEN: Ten great resources on North Korea
- Escape From Camp 14 - A look at Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden and inside North Korea. (17/07/12)
- The North Korea Story, Part 1: A Hellish History - An inside look at the human rights crisis inside North Korea, starting with its history of oppression. (30/07/12)
- The North Korea Story, Part 2: Hunger and Hiding - An inside look at the human rights crisis inside North Korea, from rampant poverty to refugees. (31/07/12)
- The North Korea Story, Part 3: So What Do We Do? - An inside look at what ordinary people can do about the North Korean crisis. (04/08/12)
I had an amazing time on the road
My Journey with LiNK…
- The Reason for this Madness - Through all the ups and downs of tour, there’s one very important piece of perspective to hold on to: purpose. (12/11/12)
- A Home in Every Place - Hospitality is quite a blessing on both the giving and receiving ends. Trust me on this one. (09/11/12)
- Nomad Life - Living out of a van on tour for a non-profit. It’s my life and I love it. (28/10/12)
- TEN: Ten things I’m hoping to do on tour - As tour takes me to a few places I’ve never been before, I’m hoping to make some time for a couple of side adventures. (20/09/12)
- Adventure is in the Long Haul - Behind every great thing there is to do, there is some heavy lifting to sit through. (01/09/12)
- TEN: Ten things I like about working for LiNK - Everyone should be able to really get behind the work they do like this. (24/08/12)
- The K-Pop Don’t Stop - My first few days with Liberty in North Korea have been an exciting time. (22/08/12)
- LiNK: My Next Adventure - Announcing my upcoming internship with Liberty in North Korea: social justice meets a road trip. (11/07/12)
- Life at LiNK - A day in the life of a LiNK intern while booking our nationwide tour. Heads up, it’s a marathon. (12/09/12)
- Heartland the Route - Presenting the route we’ll be taking on tour with LiNK. (15/09/12)
- SHIFT Tour: Colorado
- SHIFT Tour: Nebraska
- SHIFT Tour: Iowa
- SHIFT Tour: Twin Cities
- SHIFT Tour: Wisconsin
- SHIFT Tour: Chicago (Part 1)
- SHIFT Tour: Chicago (Part 2)
- SHIFT Tour: Michigan
- SHIFT Tour: Ohio
- SHIFT Tour: Indy
- SHIFT Tour: St. Louis
- SHIFT Tour: Kansas
- SHIFT Tour: Oklahoma
- SHIFT Tour: Dallas
- SHIFT Tour: Texas
- Shin’s Story (Google Tech Talk) – Shin was born and raised in a political prison camp. His story is powerful and shocking, and he previously worked at LiNK as a senior ambassador.
- North Korea Overview (Google Tech Talk)
- Crossing Heaven’s Border (PBS & Chosun Ilbo)
- Crossing The Line - A 2006 documentary on James Dresnok, an American GI who defected to North Korea in 1962 and has lived there ever since. Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
- Sokeel Park: How To Solve a Problem Like North Korea (TED@Seoul)
- Learning Liberty Al Jazeera