One North Korean defector said she viewed the United States as a land of free thought and expression – until she went to college here.
Yeonmi Park attended Columbia University and was immediately struck by the anti-Western sentiment in the classroom and the focus on political correctness that made her think, « Even North Korea isn’t that crazy ».
« I expected that I would pay this fortune, all this time and energy to learn to think. But they make you think the way they want, ”Park told Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is crazy. I thought America was different, but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I was worried. «
The 27-year-old told The Post that she couldn’t believe she was At a university in the US I was told to “censor so much of myself”.
« I literally crossed the Gobi Desert to be free and I realized that I am not free, America is not free, « she said.
Yeonmi Park fled North Korea in 2007 at the age of 13, a trip that took her and her family to China and South Korea before going to school in New York in 2016.
Your professors gave students « trip warnings » and shared the wording from the readings in advance so people couldn’t read during the discussions or even sit in class, Park told The Post.
« Any problem, explained them to us, is up to white men. » Some of the discussions about white privilege reminded her of the caste system in her home country, where people were categorized according to their ancestors, she said.
In one class, a teacher talking about Western civilization asked students if they were one Had a problem with the name of the topic – most students raised their hands, according to Park. Some, she said, mentioned topics with the « colonial » nature of the discussion.
And classes often started with professors asking students what their preferred pronouns, the use of « she » becoming scary as she feared to be socially punished for not including enough in her vocabulary.
« English is my third language, » she said. « It’s very hard for me to say, him and her sometimes, I abuse her. »
She told Fox that she was also scolded for saying she enjoyed Jane Austen’s writings.
“I said ‘I love these books’. I thought it was a good thing, « Park told the broadcaster. “Then she said, ‘Did you know these writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and fanatics and subconsciously brainwashed you. ‘ »
» I thought North Koreans were the only people who hated Americans, but it turns out there are a lot of people in this country who love this country hate, ”she told the Post.
Park, who recorded her escape from North Korea and her life under the repressive regime in the 2015 memoir To Live, said Americans are willing to give up their rights without agreeing to know that they might never come back.
« These people voluntarily censor each other, silence each other, no power behind it, » she said.
« Other times (in history) there is a military coup like a force that steals your rights and silences you. But this country is choosing to be silenced and give up its rights. «
» North Korea was pretty insane, « she said. « First of all, my mother taught me not to even whisper, the birds and mice could hear me. »
« She told me the most dangerous thing I have in my body is my tongue, » said Park. “So I knew how dangerous it is to say the wrong things in a country.”
Park, who grew up during the last Stalinist dictatorship and saw people die of starvation, said Americans were obsessed with oppression even though they haven’t seen much firsthand oppression.
« This is completely insane, this is unbelievable, » she said. « I don’t know why people get so crazy collectively or together at the same time. »
She said the situation in North Korea is one thing because people don’t have access to the internet and have limited contact with the world, but the students here have much more access to information.
As a child, Park said she believed dictator Kim Jong Un was « starved » and overworked until she was in South Korea and was shown pictures showing how tall he was compared to other people who looked thin and hungry.
« In a way, they are being brainwashed (in the US). Even though the evidence is so clear in front of their eyes, they cannot see it. «
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