What Can We Do To Change North Korea?
An Afternoon with Shin Dong-hyuk: The Only Known Person to Escape a Total Control Zone
By Ji Hyun Park, NKHR Volunteer and Intern
“The North Korean government is not afraid of what I have to say. What the North Korean government is afraid of is how you will react to what I tell you. Will you believe me? And if so, will you do anything about it?”
On Saturday December 20, 2014, the NKHR Rescue Fund once again partnered with the Hallyuwood Film Club to hold its last event of 2014: “An Afternoon with Shin Dong-hyuk: ‘The Only Known Person to Escape a Total Control Zone.’” The event—which was held at the Chungshin Girls Middle School in Jamsil, Seoul—began with a talk and Q&A with Shin Dong-hyuk, the only known person born and raised in a “total control zone” prison camp in North Korea to have escaped. He is currently one of the strongest voices against human rights violations in North Korea. The event concluded with a screening of the documentary “Camp 14: Total Control Zone,” which recounts Shin’s experience inside and his escape from the prison camp.
The event nearly packed the house. About 200 people from all over the world came to spend the afternoon with Shin. To this audience of students and professionals, of South Koreans and foreigners, Shin contrasted his own powerlessness to the huge influence of the members of the international community. Referring to himself, Shin said that the weak could not help the weak; whereas the strong could give hope to the weak.
Shin also noted with regret the lack of international—especially popular, celebrity-endorsed—attention the human rights issues of North Korea has received. Alluding to historical genocides, Shin warned that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past, of standing aside as innocent people are killed by millions. Whether it’s protesting on the streets, boycotting North Korean tourism, or writing letters to authorities, we should send a message to the North Korean regime: that they cannot kill as they wish. Once again Shin emphasized the importance of international community in lending its voice to the voiceless in North Korea.
After the talk and Q&A with Shin, the audience watched the documentary with renewed interest, as Shin’s message of the importance of their role in North Korean human rights began to sink in.
The event was a meaningful and successful close of 2014 for NKHR Rescue Fund, and we thank you for being a part of it! Because of your generous donations, we were able to raise nearly KRW 2,400,000!
We are a group of volunteers fundraising for NKHR (Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights) to rescue