LiNK Up, Save Lives


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By: Kari Monk

Hey, you! Yes, you who is staring at your computer. I want you to do a quick little exercise. No don’t worry, it’s not a physical exercise. I want you to take moment to think of your three biggest worries at the moment. (Pause). Got them in your brain? Now let me ask you if any of the following were on your short list of worries; famine, arbitrary arrest, war? Okay, so that is extreme and probably difficult for most people to wrap their heads around. However, the sad truth is that those three worries ARE at the top of the list for many people living in North Korea. This is a problem recognized by few, and sought to change by even fewer. But, leave it to SU students determined enough to connect with LiNK (Liberty in North Korea), a rescue team whose main mission is to raise money for North Korean refugees who have escaped into China.

Students at Syracuse along with Jisu Pang, President of the Syracuse team, have worked with LiNK since 2010.The Syracuse University LiNK group’s proceeds are sent to the LiNK headquarters in California, which then sends a rescue team into China to save the refugees and safely bring them to free land. The cost alone for a single refugee is a staggering $2,500.

According the Pang, "The reason that they are hiding out in China is because if they are caught by the Chinese government, they are sent back to North Korea where they will face severe punishment." She also points out the severity of punishment within the female gender. If females are caught hiding out in China, they are inevitably sold into the sex trade. Thankfully, there are real heroes like Pang and the brave souls who work with LiNK to help fight to save numerous lives.

Pang explains that "this is not a Korean issue. This is a human rights issue. Everyone should understand that we can help by just shifting our perception of the people of North Korea, and their politics. That's why LiNK exists- to save these people's lives."

The statistics concerning these North Korean refuges are frightening . It costs roughly $2,500 to save a single refugee, which is about how much I pay for rent in a single school year We also know that there are assumed to be 120,000 North Koreans imprisoned around the country, many of which are in four large camps. To be honest, I didn't even know that was possible. I mean, think about it­– that is an even fewer number than what has been reported in previous years.

So while I am quite clearly the bearer of bad news, I come to you a message of hope and how you can help. The LiNK team is holding an event Thursday, March 27, at 7:30 pm in Schine underground. Tickets are available in the Schine box office for $5, and the doors will be welcomingly opened by 7:00 pm. All of the proceeds, which I doubt you had any concerns on their whereabouts, will go towards rescuing these deserving humans.

OH! Even more shameless student promoting! There will be student performances by Zamboni Revolution, SU ONEWORLD Dance, Hope Wilcox, and so many more. Check out their Facebook event, which will give you a bit more insight. With your help, we can raise enough money to rescue at least two more lives!