Charles Ryu (@freshprinceofpyongyang) escaped from North Korea — twice — and now works with Liberty in North Korea to fight for the rights and freedom of those who have been left behind. This is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here!
What We Discuss with Charles Ryu:
- The risky train ride that began Charles’ escape to freedom.
- How the swift current of a freezing river likely saved Charles’ life.
- What Charles did once he got to China with no money, food, or water.
- The chance encounter with a good samaritan and the circuitous path that led to the United States.
- Why winding up in a Thai prison was the best day of Charles’ life up to that point.
- And much more…
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As hard as we may try, our efforts to live with an attitude of gratitude sometimes get derailed when life throws unforeseen obstacles in our path. But as unfair as we may deem our current situation, a fresh perspective serves to remind us that no matter how bad we think we have it today, somebody, somewhere has it way worse. We believe this may be just the fresh perspective the doctor ordered.
Charles Ryu of Liberty in North Korea escaped from North Korea, was deported back and sentenced to a forced labor camp, worked in a coal mine, and then escaped North Korea again by the time he was 17. He now lives in the US fighting for the rights of those he left behind. This is part one of a two-part episode, which will conclude next week. Gabriel Mizrahi, no stranger to North Korea himself, joins us. This is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here! Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!
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More About This Show
This isn’t our typical show, but it’s one that will probably open a few eyes as to what life is really like in North Korea and why people like today’s guest — Charles Ryu of Liberty in North Korea — are willing to risk their lives to escape once they discover there’s a much different world on the other side of the border.
Joining us is Gabriel Mizrahi who, along with Jordan, has been to North Korea — aka the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — as a curiosity seeker on multiple occasions. Western visitors allowed into the country only get to see a carefully curated, state-sanctioned version of what’s going on there, but as you’ll hear in the words of someone who’s experienced perhaps the worst it has to offer, the official story differs from the shocking reality.
What you might find most surprising is that Charles hasn’t been diminished by his ordeals, but strengthened with resolve to work toward a free and open North Korea that enjoys a true connection with the rest of the world. There’s not an ounce of bitterness in Charles’ voice as he relays what he’s endured under an oppressive regime most of us would consider nightmarish in scope. There’s no resentment in his demeanor against those who have committed wrongs against him, just a sincere belief that North Korea’s future will be brighter than its shadowy present thanks to the efforts of those committed to catalyzing change.
Note: what began as a standard interview became a three-hour conversation before anyone realized it, so this is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here!
THANKS, CHARLES RYU!
If you enjoyed this session with Charles Ryu, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Instagram:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].
Resources from This Episode:
- Liberty in North Korea
- Charles Ryu at Instagram
- Bad Boys
- Photos From the Lesser Seen China-North Korea Border by Soo Youn and Elijah Hurwitz, National Geographic
- Family Guy
- Rick and Morty
- American Dad
- North Korea Propaganda Claims Rogue State Won World War 2 with No Mention of US by Matthew Robinson, The Daily Express
- Dating, North Korean Style, The Guardian
- Coding Dojo