What I learned as a prisoner in North Korea | Euna Lee

  • 🎬 Video
  • ℹ️ Description
What I learned as a prisoner in North Korea | Euna Lee 5

In March 2009, North Korean soldiers captured journalist Euna Lee and her colleague Laura Ling while they were shooting a documentary on the border with China. The courts sentenced them to 12 years of hard labor, but American diplomats eventually negotiated their release. In this surprising, deeply human talk, Lee shares her experience living as the enemy in a detention center for 140 days -- and the tiny gestures of humanity from her guards that sustained her.

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

💬 Comments on the video

They were not her enemies. They are ALL prisoners there.

Author — Conscious arrival


North Korea is a place.

North Koreans are people.

Their leader is a monster.

Author — dumpster


Who just watched ted vids for 3 hours instead of studying

Author — Suga, jimin and V’s WIFEU


She doesn't mention the torture, starvation and living conditions. She purely focuses on her powerful message. Made me proud to be a South Korean again.

Author — Isaac Kim


She couldn't leave her friend. What a brave and loyal friend. Not even 3 min in to the video and she has my utmost respect.

Author — wewillnevermeet


My Dad was in the 2nd I.D. And 82nd Airborne during the Korean War. I often asked him to share his experiences with me. The one story he would always tell me was about a North Korean child (about 12 yrs old) who would come up to their camp atop a huge mountain and offer to do their laundry and clean up around their living quarters. At first, they were all suspicious. After a short while the men began to trust and grow quite fond of him. They would tip him and provide him with food for his family. It was, in my Dads words, the right thing to do as they saw a child in need and not the enemy. This experience made most of the men in my Dads company very uncomfortable about the war and changed their perspective about much of it. He became the mascot of the camp and when the armistice was called, they gave him gifts and took pictures with him as the boy cried that his "friends" we're leaving. So did my Father and his men. Barriers broken, even if in the smallest way.

Author — Hasty One


My teachers have always taught that north koreans weren't the enemy, it is their leader and government.

Author — Maria Fer


Wow, she went back for a colleague. I probably wouldn’t but I would be SOO disappointed in myself if I didn’t. The best choice was to just go with the colleague or friend.

Author — stephanie li


"When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty"—Amadeu de Prado.

Author — Issam Mohanna


Egg man and Guard "B" are the hope of North Korea. I sincerely hope that the citizens of the north, one day, are free.

Author — Buck Rogers 2000


When we think of North Korea, we think of all the bad things. But it is important to remember that all the bad things are from the face of the government that isn't even by the people. The government consists of one man's idea over the whole country. Its unfortunate that so many innocent people are born into this and many brainwashed into thinking that system is right. At least we learn that even then, there are people with minimal humanity. It's just sad that this isn't always the case.

Author — Monica Ghosh


I'm glad she made it back to give a Ted talk. Otto Warmbier wasn't so lucky.

Author — Gerardine Cizmar


There are no enemies among common people, there are enemies among authorities and governments. I feel it so hard living in the only region of war in Europe.

Author — Алексей Голбан


She's one of the Journalists that Bill Clinton secured the release of when he made his visit! I'll never forget that act of kindness by Bill Clinton, say whatever else you will about him.

Author — Arctic Fox


People forget, there is a huge difference between a people and a government. I would hate for anyone to equate myself with the government of my country, i have nothing to do with them. N Koreans have even less to do with theirs.

Author — Juliusgirl


It is incredibly important to separate the North Korean people and the North Korean government. Especially as the North Korean Government makes big threats against the US. The NK people are the NK government's first and worst victims. They have to live under NK government rule.

Nor is Ms. Lee's experience unique. Around Christmas one year in World War 1, both sides called a halt to the fighting. Before long soldiers from both sides were playing games like volleyball in No Man's Land. During the American Civil War, scouts for armies on both sides were known to play cards with each other.

It is also good to remember that Ms. Lee got kindness from some people in North Korea, but got none from the government. The NK *government* is still a genuine enemy to South Korea and the US even though its *people* are not, or need not be.

Author — John Trauger


What a wonderful world it could be if all people would see each other simply as a part of the HUMAN RACE. Why do people insist on these divisions? We are one race living on one planet being loved by one power greater then ourselves. Why complicate such beautiful simplicity?

Author — Patricia Burke


My life now seem wouldn't mind dying to unite the world.

Author — george eliot evans


How did it end with her sentence?? She said she was sentenced to 12 years of labor camp but was also in Korean prison for 140 days... so what happened? How did she get out??

Author — S K


Man, I got goosebumps. She must have felt so helpless in that situation, it's terrifying.

Author — Kingthlayer L.