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``I Will Never Go Back To NK``, Jang Gil-Su’s Diary Open To The Public

``I Will Never Go Back To NK``, Jang Gil-Su’s Diary Open To The Public

Posted June. 27, 2001 19:48,   


North Korean defector Jang Gil-Su (17)’s `Diary of Escape from North Korea` was open to the public yesterday. Jang Gil-Su caught international attention through his pictures that depicted the stark conditions in North Korea since his escape from North Korea in January 1999. Jang’s diary, which is obtained exclusively by the Donga Il-Bo, vividly describes most of the `painful journey of the refugee life` since the escape from North Korea until Tuesday morning when his family requested for an asylum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Jang’s diary, which was open to the public, includes 4 months of refugee life out of a total 29 months.

Jang entitled his diary `Diary of a North Korean Defector`, which was hand-written from mid-October (1999) through mid November (1999), in the 40 pages of a student notebook. A group called "People to Save Gil-Su`s Family North Korean Refugees" (Kim Dong-Kyu, Representative) made a copy of Jang’s another original three months diary from February through April (2000) to A4 paper.

In his diary, Jang described in detail the painful journey of a refugee life. For instance, his diary includes a story of breathtaking life in which his family had to avoid the Chinese surveillance and his `kkotjaebi` life in which he had to bag for food scavenging the markets for living. Jang’s diary also includes his yearning for separated family members and his understanding of family and a world of a 17-year-old boy.

Jang writes in his diary, ``One time I thought about stowing away to South Korea. But I was frustrated after hearing that first of all, it is difficult to find a ship because it is dangerous for the ship to carry a defector from North Korea, and if one catches cold, he or she is thrown into sea and becomes fish food.`` Jang, however, showed tenacious will to journey to South Korea by writing that ``however, a life on the way to freedom is worth the risk. I will never go back to North Korea.`` Concerning President Kim’s 6.15 Visit to North Korea last year, he also vividly described unstable status of North Korean defectors in his writing that said ``what if the South Korean government does not accept the North Korean defectors anymore?``

Hyun Ki-Deuk ratio@donga.com