Riding along the bumpy road to the DMZ border was perhaps the one of the most heart-wrenchingly surreal moments that I’ve ever experienced. I remember stepping out and looking over to the other side of the green mountain where North and South Korea is divided. I could see the small roofs and farms of North Korea…the watchmen, the soldiers, the DMZ meeting house that rests on the exact border. I felt a giant knot twisting in my gut thinking, “people actually pay money to see this? I couldn’t believe what a tourist site the DMZ had become. I remember one week after I had visited the quiet zone, news had broken out that a South Korean woman tourist got shot by a North Korean soldier due to her wild gesturing.
The stagnant war between North and South Korea has redefined the people of Korea. Deep, unchangeable rifts have been created and thousands of families torn apart.
My family is an example of one of them.
One of my grand-uncles may still reside in North Korea and two of my grand-aunts were shot for dating two “liberal” men in college. North Korea remains such a harrowing tale of the tragedies of war and the continuance of fear.
But organizations such as LiNK are changing things up. Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is redefining the North Korea crisis through creative storytelling, while providing emergency relief to North Korean refugees and pursuing an end to the human rights crisis.
I first heard of LiNK a couple of years ago on campus at UCI as a sophomore. LiNK is one of the only U.S. based assistance organization that hosts national awareness tours that use film, stories of refugees and creative media to educate communities of the North Korea crisis, and provide opportunities to change the lives of North Koreans through their local chapters that continue to build awareness, advocacy and funds for their programs and rescue operations.
In fact, LiNK released their first documentary, “Hiding” on September 26, featuring their underground networks and refugee rescues and shelters. The documentary can be eligible to be screened all over the U.S., at high schools, colleges and places of worship. For more information on how to check out or host a screening, check out the link here. They are even doing an 8 week “webisode” series with the Ford Foundation to follow North Korean defector, Danny, as he resettles in Los Angeles.
Check out the trailer here:
The documentary shows a more personal and human side on the disaster that is North Korea. Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans continue to be enslaved in prison camps. Up to 300,000 have also escaped to China – seeking food, medicine, work, or freedom from political and religious oppression. Among the 300,000, 70 to 90% of North Korean women are sold into the sex trade, and more and more refugees are fleeing to Southeast Asia to escape imprisonment upon repatriation by China.
“Hiding” is a film about a group of North Korean refugees hiding in China today and exposes their struggles to survive. I can’t wait to watch the screening and hope all of you readers get a chance to watch the documentary. The future is looking brighter with much of your needed support.
To learn more about LiNK and how you can help the North Korean Crisis, you can support LiNK here.