A North Korean defector who attended a U.S. Ivy League school has declared that America’s future “is as bleak” as it is in her home country, as left-wing Marxist ideology dominates more American university curriculum.
Yeonmi Park, 27, who has said she experienced a great deal of struggle and is one of several hundred North Korean defectors living in the U.S., began attending Columbia University after transferring there in 2016 from an institution in South Korea. The learning materials she was subjected to greatly disturbed her, she told Fox News Digital in an interview published Monday.
“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 in an interview with Fox News Digital. “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.”
She said when she was a young student in North Korea — she escaped to China when she was 13 and finally arrived in the U.S. after traversing Mongolia and then getting to South Korea — kids were literally brainwashed. For instance, she said North Korean students are taught to only refer to Americans as “American bastards.”
(Credit: Fox News)
And she began to see similar educational propaganda at Columbia that included anti-Western, ‘anti-colonial’ sentiment that explicitly targeted white people. She also explained how she was dumbfounded by students’ insistence on using various pronouns like those who asked to be referred to as “they” — which Yeonimi said made it difficult on her because she speaks multiple languages.
During orientation, the North Korean defector said she was chastised by a university staff member after she said she enjoyed classic Western literature like Jane Austen.
“I said, ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” Yeonmi said. “Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots,’ and are subconsciously brainwashing you.”
Every class was rife with anti-Americanism as well, she said.
“’American Bastard’ was one word for North Koreans,” she said she was taught while 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 preferred pronouns were really confusing, she said.
“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 into my sentences?”
“It was chaos,” she said. “It felt like the regression in civilization.”
She added: “Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”
Eventually, to avoid arguments with students and professors, Yeonmi said she “learned how to just shut up” so she could maintain a high GPA and get out of the university with a diploma.
She also said that in North Korea, she had no inkling of concepts like liberty, freedom, and love.
“Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” she said, adding that as a child in North Korea she witnessed people who dropped dead from starvation.
“These [American] 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 chided. “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.”
When she first crossed the frozen Yalu River to escape to China, human traffickers caught her and her mother and sold them into slavery. Christian missionaries helped them escape across the Gobi to Mongolia, and eventually to South Korea.
“The people here are just dying to give their rights and power to the government. That is what scares me the most,” Yeonmi, who published her memoir “In Order to Live” in 2015, said.
She used a comparison involving North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to demonstrate a lack of critical thinking she sees festering in the U.S., especially at universities.
“In North Korea, I literally believed that my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] was starving,” she remembered. “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 added. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”
“You guys have lost common sense to a degree that I, as a North Korean, cannot even comprehend,” said the defector.
“Where are we going from here? There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos,” she added. “I guess that’s what they want, to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a Communist paradise.”
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