Even husbands and wives would not trust each other, says writer who escaped from N. Korea

January 14, 2018 01:41 pm | Updated 01:41 pm IST - Chennai

 Hyeonseo Lee, author and human rights activist, in conversation with Kelly Falconer at The Hindu Lit for Life 2018.

Hyeonseo Lee, author and human rights activist, in conversation with Kelly Falconer at The Hindu Lit for Life 2018.

The second session at The Hindu Pavilion at the ‘Lit for Life 2018’ was with Hyeonseo Lee, a North Korean defector and author of the bestselling memoir, The Girl With Seven Names , and Kelly Falconer, founder of at The Asia Literary Agency.

“So many people disappeared in the middle of the night (in North Korea),” Ms. Hyeonseo noted while drawing attention to the prison camps in her country. Recalling the times of her defection, Ms. Hyeonseo said that there was a time when dead bodies were seen rotting on the streets. "They used to just pile the dead bodies on top of one another."

She went on to explain how it created an environment of mistrust in the country. "Even husbands and wives would not share information with each other." Ms. Falconer, a writer who launched the Asia Literary Agency, said that Ms. Hyeonseo had seen famine and public executions. Ms. Hyeonseo added: "The famine made the public awaken from their slumber."

“It feels like a responsibility and it also feels like depression," she said when a member of the audience asked how it felt to relive her past.

Even after such harrowing experiences, Ms. Hyeonseo feels U.S. President Donald Trump is more dangerous that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "We have to worry about Donald Trump more now than the dictator in my country," amid peels of laughter from the audience.

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