Suki Kim: Undercover in North Korea

Courtesy of LC Communications

Courtesy of LC Communications

On February 2, 2016, reporter Suki Kim spoke at the Loomis convocation on her experience as an English teacher for the elite men in North Korea. While sharing her experiences during her time in one of the most isolated places in the world, she spoke about the students she had, and her frustration with the situation.

As the only undercover reporter in North Korea that has made it out, Suki Kim has some of the most knowledge about an unfamiliar country that is at the center of discussion in our world today. It was interesting to hear about the process in which she entered North Korea and specifically how she was able to write a book during the time. She had unbelievable courage in her decision despite what others might say. Many believe that she endangered other non-North Korean citizens currently in the country, arguing that the government will now be stricter on incoming travelers.

Suki Kim also mentioned the lies that Kim Jung Ill and Kim Jung Un fed to their citizens and outsiders. Even when American reporters wanted to reveal the truth of the conditions in N. Korea, they couldn’t because any information they saw would be staged. This was an interesting part of her speech because she described the way that reporters would randomly create “facts” and articles of lies because there was no way that anyone could fact check anything when there is no information about North Korea. This causes the gap in media that she tried to bridge.

It was also admirable that when Suki Kim spoke about her students, she described them as her “own children.” Rather than seeing them as followers of a regime led by a dictator, she saw them as kids forced to believe certain lies given to them from their government. Suki Kim also kept the secrecy of her students, for example, showing videos in which the faces of the people were hardly seen. Her dedication and caution in this undercover job has led her to be such an influential part of the media surrounding North Korea.

Inviting Suki Kim to Loomis was a great way to spread awareness about the situation in North Korea, especially when many people do not understand the conflict. Her topic was an interesting one that many students found compelling, even if they had no prior knowledge of the subject. Overall, the speaker was one that personally caught my attention as someone who truly contributed to the school theme of media.