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TRANSCRIPT: Tyranny, Slavery and Columbia U – Yeonmi Park

This is the full transcript of Jordan B Peterson podcast titled ‘Tyranny, Slavery and Columbia U’ with Yeonmi Park.

Listen to the audio version here:


JORDAN B PETERSON: Hello, everyone. Something too serious today, really, I would say. I’m privileged to be talking to Yeonmi Park, born in 1993 in North Korea, author of In Order to Live, 2015, a book which I just finished reading today, and human rights activist and TED speaker.

Yeonmi Park grew up in a punishing totalitarian society based on Stalinist and Maoist principles, perhaps the last Stalinist era totalitarian state on earth, and devoted to the worship of Kim Jong-il and his family. But at the age of 13, she and her family made a daring escape to China in search of a life free of tyranny, and indeed a life at all.

In her viral talks, viewed online nearly 350 million times, and in her book, Park urges audiences to recognize, think about and resist the oppression that exists in North Korea and around the world.

Hi there.

YEONMI PARK: It’s an honor to be on your show.

JORDAN B PETERSON: It’s very nice to see you. I finished about the last third of this book this morning, and it makes for harrowing reading. There’s no doubt about that.

Yeonmi’s Story

So you lived through some of the harshest times, I would say, you and your family likely lived through some of the harshest times in North Korea in the 90s, after the Berlin Wall fell and the Russian communists stopped supporting North Korea’s economy. Maybe we could start, I think, by just allowing you to tell your story. So you can start wherever you’d like.

YEONMI PARK: Thank you. Exactly as you mentioned, after the Soviet Union collapsed, they stopped helping the North Korean regime. And the North Korean regime is run by the central government economy. So they decide how much rice you can eat that day per person, based on their class. So even though the biggest irony of North Korea is that it was founded on the idea of equality, make everybody the same, the communism. And then they called it themselves as a socialist paradise.

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