Monday, November 24, 2008
Child Soldiers: A Long Way Gone...
In his riveting autobiography, Ishmael Beah tells of his previous life as a child soldier (photo source: John Madere)
I've spent the few precious moments of free time I've had in the past week engrossed in Ishmael Beah's autobiography A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, the true story of a child soldier in Sierra Leone. War is often so glamorized - the idea of patriotic sacrifice, the G.I Joe notion of playing with guns, testosterone, the idea of avenging your blood or whatever else, etc - that this offered a rare glimpse into the absolute inhumanity of war. The first half of the book is about life before and during Sierra Leone's civil war; the second half is about rehabilitation. You can venture a guess about which one is more painful to read about. It was also very educational. I never understood how children became soldiers, but Ishmael sheds light on this issue as well. Now I understand how easy it is to be sucked into that world.
Here, Beah reflects and analyzes the psychology behind his experiences:
[related post: Child Soldier turned Rapper Emmanuel Jal]