Cover of "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a B...

Cover via Amazon

Have you ever read a book about children in war. If not, you should read “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah. It is a truthful story of Civil War that took place in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002. The book is a testimony of the way a child soldier had gone and hardships he had overcome in the war. Ishmael Beah is the author and the pivotal character of the book. The book story is his real life. Being 12 years old he was involved into the war, and faced with death many times during the fighting. When the war began, Ishmael lost his parents, later his brother with whom he hoped to find his family. Escaping from the rebels, he got involved into the army of the country. Ishmael described every minute he had spent in a fear to be caught and killed. When he was actively in the war, he was prepared to take weapons and to kill. He lost his family, brother, and his friends in the way of endless fights. Each time he lost somebody, he became more and more cruel. He forgot what childhood really meant to him.

However, the end of the book is not dramatic. In the end, Ishmael returns to the previous civil life. He spent much time to be rehabilitated and to forget about revenge and desire to kill. Desire to kill was one of the things the corporals taught them to be necessary to survive in the war. During the period of rehabilitation Ishmael found difficulties to forget all the cruelty and inhuman qualities the was taught him. He didn’t trust anyone. He had nobody to share his feelings.

Nowadays, he went through all those barriers successfully. A lot of people know about a child soldier that made a brave step to change his life and begin absolutely new one. That is what Ishmael writes himself about it ” There was no element of choice when it came to being in the army, but regaining a person I was before that required a lot of work. I had lost the ability to exhibit human emotions; I had forgotten how to sleep; I had to learn the routine of everyday life again.” A small child became a good writer, who shared his life story with the people of all over the world. With the help of many people he had written “A Long Way Gone”, and later he gave different speeches about the human rights violation and children in war. Then “he became involved into a documentary film called Bling’d, taking a group of hip-hop artists to Sierra Leone to witness at first hand how the trade in illegal diamonds had impacted on the country. A teaser for the film on YouTube, to the sound of Shirley Bassey singing “Diamonds are forever”, shows children missing limbs, men and women being shot, children brandishing AK-47s, bought with the proceeds of the illegal diamond trade.” ( A Long Way Gone, I. Beah)

Watch the video on Conflict Diamonds.

It is a pity that such inhuman actions appear in our centuries. Human rights issue is still one of the topical problems of human society. It is not just a theme to talk about, it is the matter that needs support from everyone. On my part, I am grateful to my friend, who advised me this book for I have never known before about the Civil War in Sierra Leone. On my due, I advise you to read the book and get more and more people to know about it. Washington Post once said “Everyone in the world should read this book”.

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