No one saves us but ourselves. – Buddha
A Woman Named Kim
by Kendall F. Person
A casual glance at Kim Hye-Sook, plays tricks on the mind. While everyone of us has a story, hers you still may not believe, if you only see her out of the corner of your eyes. Somewhere in her 50’s, exact age is unknown, she looks like an every day Mom, no visible scars to match the pain buried deep inside. But if you hear Kim Hye-Sook tell her story, of the horrors and crimes against humanity she faced, that pain that tumbles outward is matched only by the power of the intensity in her eyes.
She is North Korean by birth, blood and ancestry, but you would not know it by the way her own nation treated her. Imprisoned at age 13, she, and three generations of her family, paid an extraordinary price, for her grandfather’s freedom. Tortured, nearly dying of starvation and forced to watch, as a child younger than she, was brutality beaten to death for stealing a few, worn kernels of corn. Outliving her mother, a brother, released with two siblings left behind, armed only with a faint belief – if any – of a Higher Power, whom had a plan for her, far greater than the Dear Leader of North Korea.
In four short years following her release, this hungry, desperate woman with no family and only a Peter Pan-like knowledge of a better place…. escaped the most isolated and oppressive kingdom on planet earth.