Posted by: bklunk | April 19, 2007

See For Yourself

I wonder if Mr. Beah has done so well in recovering his life that his jstory makes the situation of all child soldiers seem less awful than is the case. Or does he help bring attention to the problem?

Regardless, only in a globalized world could Mr. Beah become the kind of minor celebrity he has.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier « International Politics

Recently while standing in line at Starbucks, I was looking at the shelves that they have full of different books and items that you can buy. The book that was being displayed, and given a lot of publicity that week was a book by Ishmael Beah titled “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”. While I didn’t spend the twenty dollars to purchase the entire book, I did pick up the small bookmark with a description of the story. In the book Beah describes the horrors that he lived through while he forced to be a boy soldier at the age of 13 in his village Sierra Leone. The story starts out describing the fairly typical “young boy” childhood that Beah had. He grew up among friends and family, playing sports, and listening to rap music. However, after a rampage of his village on his village at the age of 12, Beah was taken from his parents (whom he never saw again) and was forced into a life of a soldier. He was a soldier for a government that had young boys popping pills, smoking marijuana, and snort “brown brown” (cocaine and gunpowder). He spent the next three years drugged up, sleep deprived, and on a killing spree. At one point in the story Beah states “I shot them on their feet and watched them suffer for an entire day before finally shooting them in the head so that they would stop crying.” These are just some of the horrors that this young boy (and many others around the world) went through, without really even being aware of what he was doing. Beah was one of the fortunate few that was rescued after 3 years, and put in a rehabilitation center. Afterwards he lived with his uncle and eventually moved to the United States where he finished high school in New York, and went onto college to earn a Bachelor’s degree. He is noew 26 and is hoping to eventually get a law degree. As for now, Beah is on tour in the U.S. and Canada promoting his story. Beah’s story is just one thousands. I think that it’s amazing that he is being given the oppertunity to show what is really happening in these places, and the damage that it occuring to the youth in these areas as well. Hopefully his story will raise awareness of the severity of this issue and make others out there realize that more needs to happen in order to prevent these horrors from continuing.

Powered by ScribeFire.



  1. I definately think that it helps the situation. Even though he has recovered from the situation, and is one of the lucky few that has actually been able to have a normal life after this, it took some serious time and counseling for him to get to this point. The stories that he shares in his book are enough to make any individual sick, and I’m sure that those stories, even with the great live that he has now, will not shed positive light on the issue.

  2. It is sad that is has taken books like this one and movies like “Blood Diamond” to draw attention to this subject. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of children that are falling victim to the beligerent violence. Children are the most dangerrous group that can be targeted by these terrorist organizations, becauses they are so impressionable and easily manipulated. Like the author said, the drugs, power, and emontional build up, lead these young children to fall into the braiwashed millita. If they do not die in these wars fighting, it is very difficult for their lives to go back to normal. They are used by the people in power to fight for their wishes and their only choice is to either fight or die.

  3. I agree with the last comment. I am almost ashamed to admit that I did not know the extent of the attrocities that were going on in these regions. I had often heard of child soldiers, but unfortunately it is often not in the forefront of news. This book can show the world what it is like to have to undergo this life, and hopefully stories like this can become less frequent. It is a true tragedy and one the owrl dmust deal with.

  4. It is a wonderful thing that he is taking his story to the public, and is brave enough to write and show explicity share of the atrocities among child soldiers in not only Sierra Leone, but countries all over the world. I too was not aware of how serious of a problem child soldiers was until recently. And after watching the movie “Blood Diamond” I became even more sensitive to the issue.

    His book will hopefully open up the eyes of it’s reader, and make them aware of the severity of the issue. And while Beah has been fortunate enough to have been rescuted, rehabilitated, and set back into a more healthy society, it dos not change the memories that he unfortunately still carries with him. By sharing his horrible past, he is shedding light on a serious problem that continues to grow, and shows no signs of stopping.

  5. I think it’s good that this memoir is getting attention, especially from such a well known company like Starbucks. It really helps to raise awareness, and the people that are touched by this book will hopefully try to do something about the situation of child soldiers. I think there is obviously not enough being done and it’s books like these that show the world what’s really going on in a situation the media doesn’t pay enough attention to. It’s amazing that the author was able to be rescued and come to America for his education in the first place, and the fact that he wrote a memoir about it is also a great feat on his part. It must have been terribly difficult to write about such horrendous events in his life, but it was necessary to go through because he has enlightened many by publishing his story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: