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Escape from Camp 14

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ayt718
Words 1899
Pages 8
Trauma of Shin Dong-hyuk Do you know about North Korean’s political prison camps? Many people might do not know what there are. They have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. But Shin Dong-hyuk did. He was destined to a life of hard labor and an early death. Thinking of love and family were no meaning. He just saw his mother as a competitor for food. He is taught to trust no one, to snitch on everyone and to be loyal only to the guards. When he was 23, Shin managed to evade the guards and crawl through an electrified fence over the dead body of his friend to escape. He found his way to China, then to South Korea and eventually to the U.S. He is the only prisoner born and raised in one of North Korea's prison camps who is known to have escaped. Reporter Blaine Harden has written an account of Shin's journey called Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West. Not surprisingly, Shin's PTSD and learned way of life make it very difficult for him to open up and share the brutal details of his life. Not just because he had bad things done to him, but because he believes he did some very bad things himself. Although Shin has physical freedom, he cannot achieve psychological freedom evidenced by his distrust of others, others’ distrust of him, his lacks of loving role models, his shame of surviving Camp 14, and his self hatred from having “contaminated identity”. The first thing to remember, Shin struggled to trust others, to reach out to others. Blaine Harden, a writer of Escape from Camp 14, said, “He struggled to trust me. As he readily admits, he struggles to trust anyone. It is inescapable part of how he was raised. Guards taught him to sell out his parents and friends, and he assumed...

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