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Grace Eyre was walking with a purpose down Wealthy Street last week. She is Mutually Human's Content Specialist and was posting flyers in local businesses, trying to get people aware of the film event showing on Saturday evening. Her workspace was hosting the documentary film called "The People's Crisis"Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) and she wanted people to be aware of the crisis in North Korea that is the center piece of the film.
The evening's facilitators from LiNK discussed several of the issues before the film was shown. The facilitators are known as "Nomads," and travel the country in a van, starting in Los Angeles at LiNK's headquarters. This particular group has been through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and a few other states in the Midwest as well. When asked about funding, one of the members stated that LiNK is funded by a few high level private donors and the rest comes from other donations at the events, t-shirt/DVD sales and other private donations. During our discussion, I was told that LiNK prides itself on allocating only 14% of its revenue to operational costs. The rest of the money goes directly back into the organization or to help the refugees that come out of North Korea.
The documentary was about fifty minutes long and all ten or so of the attendees were held absolutely enrapt by the horrors that were being reported in the film. There were drawings from prison camp survivors outlining the absolute torture that the people of North Korea are forced to deal with on a daily basis. Former citizens interviewed in the doc had very similar themes in their reasons for escaping NK. These include complete religious repression, no freedom of speech, absolute governmental control, surveillance of citizens and severe punishment for any infraction.
North Korea spokesmen have repeatedly denied that these "reeducation" camps exist. Despite the fact that even before that date, LiNK was responsible for getting people out of the country and finding them safety in other Southeast Asian countries. "The People's Crisis" documented the journey of a few brave souls that had managed to get across the North Korea/China border. LiNK was introduced to them and assisted in their escape through a series of underground tunnels, secret safe houses and kind souls along the way. According to the eyewitnesses in interviewed in the documentary, there are at least six camps in North Korea with at least 200,000 in each. Assuming that is true, each camp holds more political prisoners than the entire population of Grand Rapids.
By the end of the film, the audiance was witness to about a half dozen people get away from North Korea. They are very courageously telling their story and trying to move on with their lives through employment, a new found freedom and the chance to send their family money with the hopes of being reunited.
At the end of the presentation Eyre offered some insight as to why she got involved. After taking a bit deeper look into the politics of North Korea it struck her that this message needed to be shared. Through her involvement at Mutually Human she had the perfect venue right at her fingertips.
"The People's Crisis" is a very powerful, eye opening and disturbing fifty minutes. The discussion after was animated and engaging. People were disheartened, but along with the money raised, there was an awareness present in the room that did not exist before the screening. It is a long road, but the only way to start a journey is to take the first step.
Those interested in getting more involved with LiNK are encouraged to visit the website.
Let's collectively figure some stuff out. We can help each other and further our dreams together. Life is not a race nor a fight; we are all it in together, as one. What drives you? What keeps you alive? Are there things you know that others must hear about? Tell me how you stay alive and why you continue on from day to day. What gets you out of bed? What keeps you in bed sometimes? Are you happy? Sad? In love? We all have stories. Some of us just need a voice.
Reports on: Life. Sharing. Hope. Fulfilling dreams.
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