A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier By Ishmael Beah Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. In 1993 at the age of 12 Ishmaels village was destroyed by rebel forces. The rebels claimed they were providing freedom from the corrupt government. In actuality they were stealing the country from the people and not helping anyone but themselves. Not knowing if his family was alive or where to find them if they were, Ishmael sets off on a journey with a few friends through the forests of Africa to find a safe haven and perhaps news of his family. The rebels rape, loot, kill and destroy everything and everyone in their path. Ishamel and his fellow travelers barely survive this brutal journey scavenging for food, rest and safety. Walking for days through all types of weather day and night. Finally Ishmael finds a seemingly safe village where he is recruited into the government army to fight the rebels. He is quickly turned into a boy soldier who becomes a fearless, drug addicted killer. Ishmaels maturity, strength, will to survive and deep emotions regarding right and wrong are extraordinary. He joins the fight avenging the deaths of those he loved but winds up in similar shoes as those of the rebels. This memoir is riveting, an easy read and quick lesson in the history of politics in this area of the world. This is not just an anonymous news clip that one views on t.v. This is a boy, innocent and happy whose childhood is stolen, his family taken away. This is not long ago and it continues today. We must force ourselves to pay attention, help in any way possible and to teach our children that the world can be made a much better place. We cannot look the other way.
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