Long Way Gone

Topics: Military use of children, War, Peter W. Singer Pages: 2 (829 words) Published: May 7, 2012
The story told by Ishmael Beah in A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is an amazing recollection of the effects that the extreme violence of war can have on a person, including physical, psychological, and social trauma, in which a boy tries to survive and escape his past as a child soldier. Civil war brings along not only violence, sadness, poverty, death etc. but also horrible conditions in which the victims that suffer the consequences are the children. Kids in third world countries, like in Sierra Leone, that are going through civil wars are forced to join the fight in order to survive; it’s the only option they have. War impacts their lives long-term in unimaginable ways that leaves them bruised for life.

Ishmael had to endure seeing people gunned down in front of him and murdered in the most gruesome ways as illustrated by the author, “I had seen heads cut off by machetes, smashed by cement bricks, and rivers filled with so much blood that the water ceased flowing” (Beah 49). After many months of cheating death and experiencing the loss of friends and family, Ishmael had no choice but to join the war as a soldier. It was either die trying to survive or die fighting. Having no other choice but to fight, this children where also brain washed. ‘Some of you are here because they have killed your parents or families, others because this is a safe place to be. Well, it is not that safe anymore’ (Beah 106). This is the point where Ishmael was trained to be a killer. They would be encouraged to harness vengeance and become cold, hardened killers, “Visualize the enemy, the rebels who killed your parents, your family, and those who are responsible for everything that has happened to you” (Beah 112).

These children were trained to be cruel, merciless, viscous killers and were given drugs to help them suppress the negative thoughts that would torment them. In chapter 14 Ishmael mentions the effects drugs had on him,

“The combination of these drugs gave us...
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