In this autobiography, Aijalon Gomes ’01 reveals harrowing life events which inspired his journey into the reclusive DPRK and his ultimate release through global humanitarianism and the efforts of President Jimmy Carter.
Violence and Humanity recounts Aijalon M. G.’s life experience of overcoming odds and adversity: what led to his illegal entry into North Korea, his spiritual journey throughout agonizing months of isolation, and the efforts made by the global community to secure his release, including a U.S. consular envoy.
For two years, Aijalon M. G. taught English to middle school students in the rural provinces of South Korea. Inspired by his faith and sense of universal equality, on January 25, 2010, he entered the North Korean border through China by crossing the frozen Tumen River as an English teacher. Isolated for months with no contact with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which provides consular services and functions as Protective Power for the United States, he was accused of espionage and ‘hostile acts’ against the North Korean government.
Tried and convicted by the Central Court — North Korea’s highest whose verdicts are final and cannot be appealed – he was sentenced on April 6, 2010, to eight years of hard labor and fined $700,000 (USD). For nine months he remained detained in a remote prison under strict supervision while friends and family in the United States were kept in the dark about his health and location as tensions peaked in the region, leading him to true tests of hope, faith and humanity.
We follow him as he graphically details the psychological torment of interrogation and confinement as well as his surprising alliances in prison and during hospitalizations. He offers exclusive insights into the culture and citizens of the secretive nation.
Violence and Humanity is an unfettered tale of deep spirituality, unconditional equality and the personal conviction that a life lived unselfishly can bring love and hope to where it is needed. From the publisher.