The Tears of My Soul – Kim Hyun Hee
When Korean Air Lines flight 858 exploded in 1987, killing 115 passengers, international law-enforcement officials immediately started searching for the hardened North Korean terrorists who could have committed such a crime. What they found was Kim Hyun Hee, an idealistic young woman who had been transformed by her country into an obedient killing machine.
The Tears of My Soul is her poignant, shocking, and utterly compelling story. Kim Hyun Hee grew up in a country obsessed by the loss of South Korea, an Orwellian world where right and wrong, good and evil, slavery and freedom meant nothing but what the North Korean Communist Party said they did.
At sixteen, she was singled out by the Party for her intelligence and beauty and given special training in languages. At nineteen she was honored to be chosen for the North Korean Army’s secret and elite espionage school. There she was trained to kill with everything from her hands and feet to grenades and assault rifles, enduring years of grueling physical and psychological conditioning designed to make her an effective and utterly obedient tool of the Party’s spy masters. And in 1987, at age twenty-five, she was sent on the mission that would, she was told, reunify her divided country forever.
Kim and her control agent, a man she considered her spiritual father, were captured only hours after the explosion. They were provided with suicide capsules, but hers failed and, for the first time in her life, Kim was outside the control of her masters. After more than a year of soul-wrenching questioning and deprogramming by the South Korean police, Kim realized the full enormity of her crimes, made a full confession, and waited for execution. But in a remarkable decision that sparked national outrage, the South Korean president gave her a full pardon, declaring that she was as much a victim of North Korea as the passengers. Kim Hyun Hee has devoted the rest of her life to atoning for the 115 lives lost on flight 858.