A North Korean defector is claiming that the United States’s future "is as bleak as North Korea" after she attended an Ivy League university.
"Even North Korea is not this nuts," North Korean defector Yeonmi Park said of her experience at Columbia University. "North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy."
The 27-year-old Park said she transferred to Columbia from a South Korean university in 2016, but her experience at the school left her disturbed.
"I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think," Park said. "I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different, but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying."
One such similarity Park noticed was an anti-Western sentiment, but she also noted that other red flags, such as collective guilt and extreme political correctness, were also pervasive at the school.
In one instance, Park said she was “scolded” by a staff member for saying she enjoyed classic literature such as Jane Austen.
"I said, ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing," Park said. "Then, she was like, 'Did you know that those writers, who had a colonial mindset, were racists and bigots who wrote those books? So they are subconsciously brainwashing you.'"
Park noted that such incidents were not isolated, as every class she took at the school contained the kind of anti-American propaganda she had grown up with as a young student in North Korea.
"’American bastard' was one word for North Koreans,” Park said she was taught growing up. "The math problems would say, 'There are four American bastards, you kill two of them, how many American bastards are left to kill?'"
The North Korean defector was also confused about issues related to gender and language, recalling how every class would require students to tell the class their preferred pronouns.
"English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes [still] say 'he' or 'she' by mistake, and now they are going to ask me to call them 'they'? How the heck do I incorporate that in my sentences?" Park asked.
"It was chaos," Park continued. "It felt like the regression in civilization."
Park said she used to engage professors and fellow students in debates and arguments but learned quickly “how to just shut up" so she could maintain her grades and GPA.
She noted that as she was growing up in North Korea, she had no concept of love and liberty. Park took aim at students who told stories of being oppressed, arguing they did not know what real oppression looks like.
"Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like," Park said, noting she had seen 13 people die of starvation.
"These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they've experienced ... They don't know how hard it is to be free," she continued. "I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free. But what I did was nothing, so many people fought harder than me and didn't make it."
Park and her mother originally fled North Korea when she was 13 years old, attempting to cross China’s frozen Yalu River when they were caught by human traffickers who sold them into slavery. Park was sold for less than $300, while her mother was sold for about $100.
Christian missionaries later helped Park and her mother flee Mongolia, after which they made the trek across the Gobi Desert to reach South Korea.
Park published a memoir in 2015, titled In Order to Live, in which she describes her ordeal fleeing from one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.
"The people here are just dying to give their rights and power to the government. That is what scares me the most," Park said.
She believes America’s educational institutions are now stripping their students of the ability to think critically, something she compared to her educational experiences in North Korea.
"In North Korea, I literally believed that my dear leader [Kim Jong Un] was starving," Park said. "He's the fattest guy — how can anyone believe that? And then, somebody showed me a photo and said, 'Look at him, he's the fattest guy. Other people are all thin.' And I was like, 'Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?' Because I never learned how to think critically."
"That is what is happening in America," she continued. "People see things, but still they've just completely lost the ability to think critically."
Park pointed out that she did not grow up with the wealth of information Americans have access to on the internet, yet argued even with such access, Americans now “choose to be brainwashed.”
"North Koreans, we don't have internet, we don't have access to any of these great thinkers, we don't know anything. But here, while having everything, people choose to be brainwashed. And they deny it,” Park said.
While she at one time had high hopes and expectations for life in the U.S., Park now says her experiences have left her worried about the country’s future.
"You guys have lost common sense to [a] degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend," Park said.
"Where are we going from here?" she asked. "There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good and bad anymore, it's complete chaos."
"I guess that's what they want. Eventually, they want to destroy every single thing and then rebuild into a communist paradise maybe,” she concluded.
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Original Author: Michael Lee