North Korean defector blogging

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More than a decade after defecting from what he calls the "Animal Farm" in North Korea, Gyoon Heo has settled into university life in South Korea. 

However, upon reflecting on life from the outside looking in, he found that creating a blog was a perfect outlet: 

My father was one of those ‘traitors’ who were made examples of by the WPK during Kim Jong Il’s time. He simply disappeared one day, received no trial that I know of, and was never seen again. I do not know what happened to him or where he is. I may never even find out whether he was sent to prison or executed.

Among North Koreans it is this fear — of losing one’s country to an enemy state, one’s family to a purge, and one’s own life to ever-present danger both definable and abstract — that compels them to obey the regime.

Read more from Gyoon Heo here: 

Defector Dances in Defiance

Some defectors in London's suburb of New Malden struggle to find a way to contact the family they left behind in North Korea.

However, the severe punishment for those caught with smuggled information or cellphones can often leave refugees to face the harrowing path of resettlement alone. 

For Hyunjoo Kim, she turns to dance. 

Twirling to a song called "By the Love of My Lord," Kim's dance of defiance, one that could have sent her to prison in North Korea, is a symbol of her newfound freedom.

Read the full story here.

Hyunjoo Kim dances at a New Malden restaurant.

Hyunjoo Kim dances at a New Malden restaurant.

Defectors in the “Land of Freedom”


Now resettled in South Korea, North Korean defectors Ann and Jayden, had to adapt to a new life in the “Land of Freedom.”

The two, who have strong memories of the deadly famine in the 1990s and of being cold and hungry most nights, have since been adjusting to things like internet news, fresh air and intensive university courses.

Their global program, sponsored by the Hana Foundation and the South Korean Ministry for Unification, aims to expose resettled refugees to global communities and education so they can become leaders in international relations in the Korean community.

Anne, driven by her experiences with hunger in North Korea, is studying to work in global aid and help other children who are starving through the World Food Programme.

Read the full story here.