LiNK – Liberty in North Korea

LiNK – Liberty in North Korea

By Helia Rogers

 

 

 

A group of “nomads” were in Abilene for two nights Thursday and Friday speaking about the oppressed plight of the North Korean people, and how Abilenians can join with them in transforming their situation. The traveling representatives are members of the LiNK – Liberty in North Korea organization. Headquartered in the Los Angeles area, the group sends trained young people who spread out across the country to share a presentation and speak personally to people. Their goal is to help rescue North Koreans who have escaped into China, but don’t have the funds or connections to travel further. Working with a modern underground railroad, the group helps bring escapees across the border, and then helps them get further to freedom in the West or eventually into South Korea. The organization also works with individuals during the transition process. They provide support such as learning English, getting a job, or counseling and adjustment services. “People Not Politics,” is a t-shirt worn by representatives, the letters written in an eye chart format. {{more}}Their goal is to change perception of the country from what’s in the news usually about North Korea. Rather than stories of the dictator’s latest antics or Dennis Rodman’s outlandish statements, they want to instead shift the focus onto the actual people of the country. The people themselves, according to secret camera footage taken on the streets, are beginning to establish trade – selling goods on their own or running a bus service, for example. These acts are in defiance of the government, who makes independent trade illegal and seeks to regulate all economic activity. The military also, who are hungry themselves and have been for years, are open to bribes, and the tight grip of fear is loosening. The group plans were to stop for presentations at high schools in Arizona, before heading back to California for debriefing after their trip of thousands of miles. Ashli Aripe, attendee at the Abilene event said, “It’s difficult to grasp. I didn’t fully realize how much freedom I have as an American until the other night … I do have hope that with support the North Korean people can empower themselves to have the same liberties.” www.libertyinnorthkorea.org