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a long way gone; memoirs of a boy soldier

When war breaks out in his home of Sierra Leone, Ishmael not only loses his loved ones but also his faith in humanity. In spite of the horror that surrounds him, Ishmael finds the strength to love again. <3

From the ages of thirteen to fifteen years old, Ishmael Beah is a soldier in a violent war in Sierra Leone. Before the war, Ishmael was a kind and caring person, but after witnessing and even participating in the tortures and killings of the people of his country, Ishmael is scarred forever. He has lost faith in humanity and begins to think that he will never love again.
Personally, I think Ishmael&#8217;s reaction to the war is totally reasonable. After enduring so much devastation, violence, confusion, and hatred, it is no wonder why he doubts that love exists in the world. I can only imagine the amount of strength that it would take for a soldier to emotionally recover from war. I don&#8217;t believe that I could find the strength to focus on the good aspects of humanity after being a part of a war, and I understand why Ishmael has trouble doing so.

From the ages of thirteen to fifteen years old, Ishmael Beah is a soldier in a violent war in Sierra Leone. Before the war, Ishmael was a kind and caring person, but after witnessing and even participating in the tortures and killings of the people of his country, Ishmael is scarred forever. He has lost faith in humanity and begins to think that he will never love again.

Personally, I think Ishmael’s reaction to the war is totally reasonable. After enduring so much devastation, violence, confusion, and hatred, it is no wonder why he doubts that love exists in the world. I can only imagine the amount of strength that it would take for a soldier to emotionally recover from war. I don’t believe that I could find the strength to focus on the good aspects of humanity after being a part of a war, and I understand why Ishmael has trouble doing so.

(Source: ngpopgun)

Music 

Ishmael and his brother Junior were best friends. As children, they bonded through music. They would rap and dance together daily, practicing for talent shows. As a result of the war, Ishmael and Junior were separated, and Junior was murdered by the Sierra Leone rebels. 

When Ishmael was taken to UNICEF, music was the tool that his nurse, Esther, used to break down the trust barrier that he had built up. She gave him rap cassette tapes and as a result, he began to open up to her. The music reminded him of his childhood- the period before the war; a time when he was truly happy.

Like Ishmael, I have a passion for music. Sometimes it changes my mood by taking me to a point in time when I was happy. One of my favorite artists is John Mayer because much of his lyrics are identical to situations occurring in my life. :)

(Source: used2thepain)

 
UNICEF helps Ishmael

 UNICEF arrives in Sierra Leone when Ishmael is 15 years old to take boy soldiers from the war zone to New York in the US. At first, Ishmael is unwilling to accept UNICEF’s help because he is so accustomed to his violent ways and he is resentful that he has been taken away from the only family he has had for the past few years- his fellow soldiers. However, he soon becomes aware of the extent of the trauma that has been caused by the war, and wants to make a change in his life. He finally opens up to Esther when she makes a connection with him through music. Because UNICEF rescued Ishmael from the violent war zone in Sierra Leone, he is able to begin a new chapter in his life. He begins to regain his trust in people and is shown that he is able to love and care for people such as Tommy and Laura.

UNICEF helps Ishmael

 UNICEF arrives in Sierra Leone when Ishmael is 15 years old to take boy soldiers from the war zone to New York in the US. At first, Ishmael is unwilling to accept UNICEF’s help because he is so accustomed to his violent ways and he is resentful that he has been taken away from the only family he has had for the past few years- his fellow soldiers. However, he soon becomes aware of the extent of the trauma that has been caused by the war, and wants to make a change in his life. He finally opens up to Esther when she makes a connection with him through music. Because UNICEF rescued Ishmael from the violent war zone in Sierra Leone, he is able to begin a new chapter in his life. He begins to regain his trust in people and is shown that he is able to love and care for people such as Tommy and Laura.

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This is one of the consequences of the civil war. People stop trusting each other and every stranger becomes an enemy.

New perspective on life

I can honestly say that A Long Way Gone is one of my favorite books. I expected it to be an interesting read, but I was not aware of how heart touching and thought provoking I would find it to be.

Ishmael’s story gave me a new perspective on life. Before he was my age, Ishmael had lost all his loved ones and was a soldier in war. When I think of how Ishmael was able to overcome such tragedies and move forward in life, I realize that no matter what problems I face, I have the ability to overcome them. After reading A Long Way Gone, I have become more thankful of the fact that I have people in my life who I love and am loved by.

One of the unsettling things about my journey, mentally, physically, and emotionally, was that I wasn’t sure when it was going to end…

(Source: ontilmorningg)

Trust Issues

After serving as a boy soldier in the war, Ishmael developed a distrust with humanity as a whole. Perhaps he didn’t see how he could trust people that could cause so much devastation to each other. 

I think that not only war, but any traumatic experience, particularly in someone’s childhood years, could cause a person to have trust issues. Many people who were victims of abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, or other traumatic situations may find it difficult- if not impossible- to trust people as they grow older. Maybe they feel that because they were hurt before, they will be hurt again if they put their trust in someone.

It would be difficult to regain the ability to trust people after an emotionally damaging experience. But, like in Ishmael’s case, I think it is possible. I believe you shouldn’t go through life with a fear that people are going to hurt you because then you will never fully enjoy being surrounded by the people who truly care about you.

UNICEF helps provide food and medical care to countries devastated by war.

(Source: youtube.com, via unicef)


“I had heard from adults that this was a revolutionary war, a liberation of the people from corrupt government. But what kind of liberation movement shoots innocent civilians, children, that little girl?” -Ishmael Beah

“I had heard from adults that this was a revolutionary war, a liberation of the people from corrupt government. But what kind of liberation movement shoots innocent civilians, children, that little girl?” -Ishmael Beah

(Source: peacecorps)

Ishmael did not realize how dreadful the war was until the rebels reached his hometown&#8230;
"There were all kinds of stories told about the war that made it sound as if it was happening in a faraway and different land." -Ishmael Beah
This is the first sentence of the first paragraph of A Long Way Gone. When I read this quote, It reminded me of the feelings that many people had when the Holocaust struck. Last year, I read a memoir by Elie Wiesel called Night. In the book, a man came to the town where Elie lived to warn the town members of the horrible acts that the Nazis were committing. However, the town members refused to believe him. Perhaps they did not think it was possible for such a terrifying and deadly occurrence to take place in THEIR country. But eventually, the Nazis reached their town and they were forced to believe that it was indeed possible. 

Ishmael did not realize how dreadful the war was until the rebels reached his hometown…

"There were all kinds of stories told about the war that made it sound as if it was happening in a faraway and different land." -Ishmael Beah

This is the first sentence of the first paragraph of A Long Way Gone. When I read this quote, It reminded me of the feelings that many people had when the Holocaust struck. Last year, I read a memoir by Elie Wiesel called Night. In the book, a man came to the town where Elie lived to warn the town members of the horrible acts that the Nazis were committing. However, the town members refused to believe him. Perhaps they did not think it was possible for such a terrifying and deadly occurrence to take place in THEIR country. But eventually, the Nazis reached their town and they were forced to believe that it was indeed possible. 

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