The quote is from an article which is of great interest on its own: North Korean Defector After Attending Ivy League School: Even North Korea Was ‘Not This Nuts’. This is where the quoted lines are found.
Eventually, Park stopped arguing with her professors and “learned how to just shut up” so that she could graduate. She reserved her most pointed criticisms for the woke scolds who constantly lament about being oppressed.
“Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” she said. “These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced. They don’t know how hard it is to be free.”
“I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free. But what I did was nothing, so many people fought harder than me and didn’t make it,” she added.
She actually means none of her fellow students from their pampered backgrounds know how difficult it was for her to escape from North Korea and come to the United States. But I think there is a much more profound meaning in her words.
There are skills and personal attitudes that are necessary for the members of a truly free society to have and develop. Freedom requires that the overwhelming majority of the members of a society are not only self-reliant but demand that the institutions around themselves and everyone else are designed so that each person must work on their own to achieve their own goals and ambitions.
Freedom cannot just be handed down from one generation to another. What must be handed down instead are a series of personal values that are the essential elements that constitute a free society. When they go, so too does personal freedom.