Four years ago Suki Kim returned from a teaching assignment in North Korea. Her memoir from the isolated, Asian nation published last fall, has become a bestseller.
Suki Kim has named her book “Without you, there is no us”. The title comes from a song her students sang as they three times a day were marching and praising Kim Jong-il who ruled North Korea when Suki Kim worked there. “Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us,” was repeated over and over as the students were marching.
– It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it, writes Amazon in the presentation of the book that was released in October last year.
Kim’s story from North Korea is from 2011. She had accepted a position as an English teacher at the male PUST University in the capital Pyongyang. The university is run by Evangelical Christians.
“Two hundred and seventy young men, and about 30 teachers, all Christian evangelicals besides me, were isolated together in a guarded compound, where our classes and movements were watched round the clock,” says Suki, describing the university where she taught. She goes on to explain that all of her lessons had to be approved by North Korean officials, which threw a wrench in her efforts to share information about the outside world with her students. She struggled to get through to them, and quickly realized that their lifelong indoctrination had left them unable and unwilling to think critically about anything-unless they were criticizing Western, and particularly American, culture.
“Nothing, it seemed, could break through their belligerent isolation,” she writes; “moreover, this attitude left no room for any argument, since all roads led to just one conclusion.”
Kim describes how she wanted to show the students some of what exists outside the borders of North Korea. Speaking about faith was not easy.
– During a previous semester, one of the teachers had been expelled from the DPRK for leaving Christian texts in the men’s bathroom, and we had all been warned never to say anything about Jesus. As far as I could tell, the missionaries contented themselves with showing North Koreans the love of Christ simply by being kind to them, writes Kim.
You can find Kim’s book on Amazon by clicking here.