The Big Issue : Edition 543
THE BIG ISSUE 11 – 24 AUG 2017 19 NORTH AND SOUTH North Korea, made a rice porridge for me and my sister, saying: “I will be back in a week with food.” My sister said, “Mum, come back soon.” She was seven. I haven’t seen her since. It must be hard being separated from your family. Soon-shill: Now I understand why people go crazy. On my eighth attempt to escape I had a two-year-old daughter, but she was captured and sold somewhere. Every time I pass by a baby clothing shop my heart breaks. Even animals cry and go crazy when their babies are taken away; can you imagine how humans react? My wish is that even just for a day I could give her warm clothes and feed her until she feels full, cradle her in my arms and fall asleep together. Is there anything that you miss about North Korea? Eunhee: Sure, that is where I am from. It is irreplaceable. Ara: North Korean people take care of each other more. They are more humane. Eunhee: When things were not so desperate we used to share rice cakes with the whole neighbourhood every holiday. But South Koreans don’t even know who lives next door to them. Soon-shill: I don’t even want to fart towards the North. The only memories I have left are scars, pain and torture. Of course I have good memories of my childhood, but I have so many painful memories I don’t even want to go back to North Korea as a corpse. Has it been hard being in South Korea, and being on TV talking about your experience? Soon-shill: It is really rewarding. People tell me that they learned a lot about the North Korean situation through my testimony. People can empathise a lot. Eunhee: I heard that in the old days South Korean textbooks described North Koreans as having red skin and horns. Those perceptions have changed a lot thanks to our testimonies. Before, when people heard that we escaped from the North they saw us as traitors. But now they see us as Koreans, just like them. by Young Ham » Translated by Eun Kyung Jeong. scared and so afraid I later went to my neighbour’s and asked them to look after me. Then I met a broker that my mum had sent. But that broker had sold out so many people that I couldn’t trust him. Did you go with him? Ara: I had the feeling that no-one would notice if I died, and that even if I died then I wouldn’t regret anything, so I followed him. The scary thing about brainwashing is that when I was going with the broker it occurred to me: “Can I do this when Kim Il Sung loves me so much?” So, I turned to go back again, but at that moment the broker showed me five pieces of candy and I flipped out and went on with him. Thankfully, I met my mum in China. I found out that she couldn’t fetch me sooner because she had been sold to a Chinese man. My sister is still in North Korea. I still remember that my mum, right before she escaped from FROM LEFT ARA, SOON-SHILL AND SISTERS EUNHEE AND EUNHA.