Nervous Conditions

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African Literature
May 18, 2009

I decided to do my final paper on Violence and I am using the book Allah is not obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma. Allah is not obliged, which is about a 10 year old child soldier named Birahima, is the perfect story of a boy who seeks the wrong guidance. Birahima has recently just lost his mother and his father has been long dead and it now causes him to be an orphan. On his way to his aunts’ house, being led by Yocuba who is a thief and a con man, Birahima is forced to join a war and become a child soldier. Although Violence is the main theme that I am pursuing, I will also show how many young people will do very drastic things, even murder, just to feel as if they belong to some sort of group or organization. I will try to intertwine Birahima and his acts of violence to gangs and their acts of violence. I will also analyze and contrast the reasons behind Birahima’s acts of violence and the reasons gang members commit their acts of violence. Due to the neighborhood I live in as well, I was considering interviewing gang members I will ask them to share in detail with me why the perform the acts of violence they do. I will analyze this theme using a sociological point of view as well, showing how people who come from a lower class may decide to use violence as a source to gain more wealth. I will also analyze with violence, the mindset of Birahima that could allow such a young boy to commit such horrific crimes. Birahima is portrayed to us via his language to be a very intelligent 10 year old although some people may believe that this was just an error on Ahmadou Kouruma’s behalf because he ends up mistakenly talking as an adult instead of his 10 year old character. The fact that drugs

were used in order to promote more violence in the child soldiers is another aspect I would like to examine. Birahima is not only smart, sarcastic, and sometimes very funny but witness’s torture, amputation, and murder and still manages to maintain his “sanity”at only 10.

Violence is defined as the act of causing pain to oneself or others. This can include physical or emotional pain. Typical acts of violence include bullying, fighting, assaults of all levels, self inflicted injuries, exclusion of others within peer groups and more. Violence typically shows warning signs and indicators in early stages of a child’s life and if left without correction, can manifest into much more advanced problems. It will typically start as bullying and aggression until it can lead to major acts of violence against others or themselves. Birahima’s picture should be next to the definition of violence. First let’s analyze his opening statement for the book. “The full, final, and complete title of my bullshit story is Allah is not obliged to be fair about all things he does here on earth. Okay right. I better start explaining some stuff. That statement lets us know that Birahima is not your typical pre-teen with his vulgar language and sarcastic tone.

Let us start from the beginning. First off the fact that Birahima’s socioeconomic status is very poor will have a big impact on his behavior. Due to the fact that I live in a poor neighborhood I can see hands on that when money is non existent, people become angry and even violent to attain it and this is prevalent in Birahima’s case because now that he is a child soldier via killing his “enemies” he is able to attain things that he would not have been able to in his previous economic situation. In my neighborhood, many people lie, steal, and even murder their fellow neighbors in order to attain materialistic items weather it be something as small as

food, or an expensive car. In the source that I am using on child development and violent delinquency, titled Obstetrical Complications and Violent Delinquency: Testing Two Developmental Pathways it states “Individuals who experience both obstetrical complications and adverse...
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