The Making and Unmaking of a Child Soilder

Topics: Military use of children, Peter W. Singer, KILL Pages: 3 (731 words) Published: March 20, 2011
Erin Axson

The Discussion of “The Making and Unmaking of a Child Soldier” by Ishmael Beah

The story “The Making and Unmaking of a Child Solider” is an insightful look into the life of a child drawn into the horror of war, yet still managing to survive. Throughout the story you see several examples of how a child evolves in spite of adversity and violence.

At 12 years old children should be playing sports and living fun, healthy lives. This is opposite of Beah’s childhood experience. It is difficult for one to imagine the fear that would cripple a child when war is brought to their front door. Beah was just a child when he had to experience the devastation of losing his family. How could a 12 year old properly grieve when he is constantly running, hiding, with no money or possessions? The utter feeling of loneliness would be overwhelming for and adult, let alone a child. One could assume that the death and mutilation around him desensitized his value of human life. “Before I shot each man, I looked at him and saw how his eyes gave up hope and steadied before I pull the trigger” (Beah 278). “I found their somber eyes irritating” (Beah 278).

Beah’s loneliness and grief eventually transformed to anger. Watching his friends die caused his anger to overflow. Consequently, his first kill was complete revenge with no remorse or guilt. Although, to his defense the child soldiers were given drugs and Axson 2 submitted to mind control. The young boys watched movies such as “Rambo” as ways of survival and for killing techniques. So, could this make one wonder if they ever had a sense of right and wrong? Is that sense something humans are inherently born with? One could suggest that Beah had no choice but to kill; surely, he would have been murdered for trying to escape or rebel.

Beah’s visit by U.N.I.C.E.F was a pivotal...
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