November 15, 2013

Child soldier tells his story

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah

Teens raised on video games, action movies, and reality t.v. may think of war as rather exciting. Ishmael Beah's friends thought it was cool. 

But it's not so cool when you're twelve years old and your family's just been killed. And it's not so cool trying to survive alone in a forest for over a month. Frightened and desperate, Beah was unwillingly recruited by his government's army. Being a soldier meant fleeing from fearful villagers, seeing rivers washed with blood, and bodies dismembered by bullets and machetes.

That Beah survived at all is a miracle, and his rehabilitation even more so. The sight of a UNICEF man cowering under a table while the boy soldiers fight each other would be very funny if it weren’t so awful. Having seen so much, these children can't be treated as children any more. They're dangerous young adults, brainwashed to kill.

Beah's story is an extraordinary one, told with great honesty and courage. An important must-read that is highly recommended.

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