"Escape From Camp 14", a book written by Blaine Harden about the experiences of Shin Dong-hyuk, unexpectedly caught my eye while browsing the shelves in a bookstore. For years I had been quickly growing an interest in South Korean culture, and naturally, had become vaguely aware of the issues surrounding its neighbouring country, North Korea. I was curious, and this curiosity was what prompted me to buy the book.
The place described in this story, a prison camp within a country often described as a prison itself, was beyond anything I could imagine. To think that, there exists today, places comparable to the Nazi concentration camps was an outrageous notion, but Harden's facts and Shin's powerful story never made me doubt it for a moment.
You will learn many things from reading this book, many of them unknown to the general person. It will make you cringe, gasp, curl your lip in anger, hold your breath in suspense, and probably even cry. It will open your eyes to the fact that although globalization is prominent in the world and media can be counted on to report news stories found both locally and globally, there are still things happening in this world that the majority of us are unaware of. Things that breach countless human rights in the most horrible ways possible. Things that must be stopped.
Although Shin is the only known person whom can claim to have been born and raised in a North Korean prison camp, and to have escaped, his story will hopefully be an awakening to the world, prompting them to do something about this horrible reality. All Shin has is his story, the life he was given to live and the memories that still haunt him today, but by sharing it with us, using the words of Blaine Harden, he has also given hope to those he left behind; those who still remain in the prison camp he had once called home.
Read this book and increase that hope.