11 June 2013
A Child Soldier’s Life
The life of a child soldier is not an easy one; it’s full of violence and bloodshed. Children from most ages get recruited and are forced to do things that they are against, things that are against their beliefs. But although child soldiers suffer through many mental disorders, they can still be respectable adults. They go through many things, the recruiting itself, then the violence, after comes the horrifying rehabilitation and last they are finally reintegrated into society. In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael suffered from these things, himself explaining that at some point in his life, he just went numb to everything (Beah 121). Throughout Africa, rebel groups, and the army itself, have been recruiting children who are between the ages of 11-16, to fight. These children get to see and do traumatic things that can harm any young child. For example, when Ishmael gets found by the rebels, he first gets chosen along a few of his friends, and then gets thrown back in the line, the second time, his brother was chosen. The rebels told his brother’s group that they needed to “show you blood and make you strong” by killing the other half of the group (Beah 31-35). Here, it shows the brutality that the rebels use to recruit children, and here is where the mental issues start, seeing how the children will be traumatized by the fact that they killed someone. After a while in the army, the children are then discharged and taken to the rehabilitation center so they can let go of their past and start moving on. In the book A Long Way Gone, Ishmael’s nurse, Esther, tries to help this distraught Ishmael through everything he has gone through, and making him talk about it seemed to be the most effective (Beah 152-160). The first few months are the worst because these kids are thinking like they’re still in war, and their minds run like a machine gun, only stopping when you don’t pull the trigger. They...
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