‘People Choose To Be Brainwashed’ Says North Korean Defector on Her Experience at US Ivy League School

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Human rights activist and North Korean defector Yeonmi Park rehearses backstage before her talk at TED2019 - Bigger Than Us, on April 19, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. Park said she believes the U.S. is heading in a dangerous direction after her experience under woke ideology at Columbia University.
Human rights activist and North Korean defector Yeonmi Park rehearses backstage before her talk at TED2019 - Bigger Than Us, on April 19, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. Park said she believes the U.S. is heading in a dangerous direction after her experience under woke ideology at Columbia University. (Image: Lawrence Sumulong/Getty Images)

A North Korean defector who fled the communist dystopia at the age of 13 says she sees alarming similarities between the state of modern America and her home country after attending a U.S. ivy league university. 

Yeonmi Park and her family fled North Korea to China in 2007 through human traffickers. When Park and her mother arrived in Chinese Communist Party territory, the smugglers raped her mother and sold the mother-daughter duo for a combined $325.

The duo eventually escaped through the Gobi Desert in Mongolia to South Korea in 2009. Park transferred to Columbia University from South Korea in 2016.

In a June 14 interview given to Fox News, Park shared her dismay with the culture of political correctness and indoctrination she experienced at the U.S. university, emphasizing her concern that America is heading in the same direction as North Korea and China.

Speaking of both her peers and teachers, Park said, “Power can corrupt. That’s the nature of power. And when they’re just dying to give their rights and power to [the] government, that’s what scares me the most.” 

“And of course because they are taking this for granted, they don’t know how hard it is to be free.”

She said when she came to America she loved to read books because in North Korea they did not teach the human race’s history, about iconic figures such as Jesus Christ, or even the Big Bang Theory. Park recounted an experience she had at Columbia University’s orientation where one of the orientors asked her group who loves Jane Austin and other classical writers. When Park raised her hand, naively admitting she loved reading the works of classical authors, she was admonished by the staff member who claimed the authors of America’s classics had a “colonial mindset” or were “racists or bigots.”

Park used an example of the education she received as a young girl in North Korea to elucidate the situation, “In the math problems, they would say ‘There are four American bastards. If you kill two of them, then how many American bastards are left to kill?’ When I was like, seven years old, you say ‘two’.” 

“‘American Bastard’ was one word for North Koreans. We were not allowed to call Americans as, like, Americans.”

“They are subconsciously brainwashing you,” said Park “And that’s when I realized ‘wow. This is insane.’ I literally thought America was that different and I just saw so much similarity that I saw in North Korea and I started worrying about this country.”

“Mainstream education is purposely designed now to make people resent western democracy.”

Calling it “appalling,” Park, who gave a TED talk in 2019 and has given interviews to publications such as NBC, New York Post, and The Sun, said that the politically correct narrative prevalent at Columbia “Tried to explain things from [the perspective that] everything was all about white men and how they tried to overpower, and how, you know, white men destroyed the humanity.”

Mao killed the most people in all of human history,” rebutted Park in dismay. “He killed like 50 millions of Chinese during the Cultural Revolution. Hitler killed like 16 million people. The kids don’t understand it. They’re still playing with fire with this ideology like communism or socialism.”

Park said her experience at a U.S. university made her think that perhaps North Korea wasn’t the most extreme place on earth: “North Korea was pretty crazy. But not this crazy. What’s shocking to me is that North Koreans, we don’t have internet, we don’t have access to Shakespeare or any of these great thinkers. We don’t know. But here, while having everything, people choose to be brainwashed, and they deny it.”

“I think that is what happened in America. They see things, but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”

Park said, “Because I have seen oppression I know what it looks like when they go after something….In North Korea to the degree of control of people’s thoughts, they were purposefully removing the concepts of love, liberty, and human rights.”

Explaining how distorted her values had become, she said when she arrived in South Korea she found herself confused when she saw people crying on television during a fundraiser for an animal shelter, “What do you mean animals have rights? I did not know I had rights as a human being.” 

“This is a paradoxical world that we are living in. These kids are literally…they just keep saying how they are oppressed and how much injustice they have experienced…And I’m like ‘they paid almost a half million dollars to go to this school…’.”

“They are so bitter. They have zero, zero appreciation for what this country did. What the Constitution says to protect individual liberties, they have zero, zero appreciation. They are dying to give all their liberty away.”

Park’s warning to Americans was both apt and ominous, “The future of our country is as bleak as North Korea if we do not rise up right now. Literally, we are going to this zone where there’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, so complete chaos. And I guess that’s what they want.” 

“Eventually they will destroy every single thing and then rebuild a communist paradise maybe. I don’t know what we are going towards.”