An international pariah or the “Hermit Kingdom”, these names have been used to describe North Korea (Jacob and Benzkofer 1). In North Korea, the leaders, and those that are considered to be upper class and loyal to the regime, dine on gourmet cuisine, expensive cigars, and other luxuries while 4 out of 5 children are suffering with malnutrition (Msnbc. com Staff 1). Their living conditions are unfathomable. The North Korea regime and its military make the decisions on when they eat, what they eat and how they live.
Living in a dictatorship like North Korea, you are not allowed to have your own thoughts, or enjoy simple freedoms. If people dare to disobey they will be forced to live in prison camps or can even be put to death. Crossing Heaven’s Border is a film about hope, courage and the risks that the North Korean people will take to gain freedom. To gain freedom, they must cross into China and then make over a 3,000 mile trek to South Korea. Over ten months, three reporters from South Korea’s largest newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, tells us the stories about how people are escaping, leaving the country for a better life.The video shows us what the reporters had to do to make this video and travels with two girls, a little boy and a group as they escape through their process. These people are terrified that they will get caught but will risk everything to have a better life. If they get caught, they can be imprisoned, tortured or even executed.
(“Crossing”) Lee Young Haw, 19 years old dreams of becoming a singer and actress. Her mother escaped first so that she can support her children and her brother joined next. In order to support her children, and bring Lee Young Hwa to China her mother started doing web pornography.Once Lee Young Hwa arrives in China she must make her way to South Korea and freedom. During the bus ride from Shenyang to Beijing, Lee Young Hwa talks about how terrified she is about getting caught. She even has a poison capsule to take just in case.
After they arrive to their safe house they are handed off to another smuggler that will take them to through the jungle and across the border of Laos. They must then travel on to the Embassy in Bangkok and once there, Lee Young Hwa can request asylum.At the end of the film, we learn that Lee Young Hwa now lives in Seoul with her mother and brother and is pursuing her dream of becoming and singer and actress. During the trek from China, the reporters also introduced us to a little boy, named Min Chul. He had told that smugglers that his mom was a North Korean defector and his father were Korean-Chinese. His mother who lives in South Korea had sent him money so he could meet up with her.
He told everyone he was ten, but they believed him to be seven years old. During the trek, Min Chul became sick and threw up everything he ate. The others worried about him because he was so young.
In the end, he was able to meet up with his mother. Min Chul is now a second grader and lives with his mother in the city of Daejeon. Lee Geum Hee that wants to have a better life for her and her son. She escapes to China and manages to get identification to get a job and works to save money so that she can make the trek to South Korea to gain her freedom for her and her six year old son, Bo Song who has cerebral palsy. Unable to get Bo Song an identity card, he can’t attend school or get medical attention he needs. As Bo Song becomes sicker, Lee Geum Hee will risk everything again to get him to North Korea.She has saved enough money to get a plane ticket and a black market passport.
The risk comes if the Chinese officials recognize the fake passport. She makes it through and arrives in Seoul. Once there, Lee Geum Hee finds a job with a video game company and after eight months she is able to send for Bo Song. After watching this video, I felt so sad and ashamed that as old as I am, I was not more aware of how North Korea treats their people. I cannot imagine how hard it is living in this country. If you are a loyal servant to the regime and obey all their orders you can have the things necessary to live your life.But even that is not without sacrifice. The government divides its citizens into 51 different social categories which are graded by the loyalty of the citizens to the regime (Msnbc.
com Staff 1). If you are extremely loyal than you receive more than someone that is considered to be an underclass citizen. These are the people that are considered to be unreceptive or disrespectful to the regime. Even their athletes that go compete for their countries in the Olympics are considered to be disrespectful to the regime if they place less than gold.
If so, they can be sent to a prison camp (Richardson 1).Why would anyone want to be an athlete? Not everyone can be the best all the time. It’s no wonder people will risk everything including their life just to have some simple freedoms that most of the rest of the world can enjoy. I am sad for these people that they have to live their lives like that every day.
We live in such a great country. We can have our own beliefs, thoughts, hopes and dreams. When I think of the children growing up in this place, starving and suffering from malnutrition every day because their leader says that they are not worthy enough to eat, it just makes me want to cry.In March of 2011, “the World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that 6 million North Koreans needed food aid and a third of children were chronically malnourished or stunted (Msnbc. com Staff 1). ” What can we as American’s do to help this country? Should we even help North Korea? After all, we have many people in our country that are starving too. The North Korean government dislikes the US along with most other countries that don’t live the way they do.
I believe that we as a nation should offer to help the citizens of North Korea by doing whatever can be done to help them gain more freedoms from the government.However, I don’t think that the US should do this by their selves. With the help of the United Nations, I believe that they should put strict sanctions on North Korea until they give their citizen’s more of the same freedoms the rest of the world enjoys. When thinking about this film, and how the author says Crossing into Heaven’s border, I understand how people think they are going to heaven especially after living in a country that can only be referred to as living in hell. I can only pray that the future brings them a better country with more freedoms that the rest of us enjoy on a daily basis.