A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah

840 Words4 Pages

War is a devastating site to witness for anyone, but imagine being child in the middle of a civil war having to decide whether to kill or be killed. A twelve year old boy named Ishmael Beah, along with many other children, faced this challenge during the Sierra Leone Civil War. He later wrote about his journey in his memoir A Long Way Gone. Ishmael’s story consists of a conflict between the government and rebels. The rebels are individuals who are rebelling against the government, which they believe is “corrupt”. Both sides claim to be fighting for what is right for the civilians. Caught in the middle of this deadly war, Ishmael was forced to fight for the government. While acting as a soldier, he was obligated to eliminate everyone in sight. …show more content…

Two years of Ishmael’s life consisted of war. Ishmael Beah, unfortunately, experienced both sides of it: being a victim and a victimizer. During the civil war, Ishmael was the sufferer of numerous things. One day Ishmael and his friends wandered into a village when all of a sudden villagers, with weapons in their hands, jumped out of nowhere. As a punishment for disrupting their village, the villagers stole the boys shoes and scared them off. After walking all day on the burning sand, the boys sat down and glanced at their feet, “Peeled flesh hung down and congealed blocks of blood and particles of sand clung to each hanging bit of skin” (Beah 61). The war caused strangers to become enemies; any stranger who were to come upon a village was injured. Younger boys had it the worst. Civilians were scared of them because usually adolescent boys were rebels. Ishmael was injured by these individuals; physically and mentally. His feet were damaged for days and he was unable to walk. This also caused him sorrow. Nobody trusts Ishmael …show more content…

Ishmael also was the one causing these innocent citizens distress. Always being the victim caused him to go into survival mode. For Ishmael, the goal of each and everyday was to survive. He would do anything just to get some food or water, even steal food from a little boy. Ishmael and his friends saw a little boy with food in his hands, Ishmael declares, “Rather, we rushed on the boy at the same time, and before he knew what was happening, we had taken the corn away from him” (Beah 30). The war was turning Ishmael into an unpleasant person. Taking food away from a toddler is not something the old Ishmael would do. Although, Ishmael claims he used to be a troublesome boy, he would not do something as horrible as stealing food. Ishmael is not the only child who performed these actions. Many other children stole and hurt people, which was necessary for their survival. Sadly, this is not the only thing that Ishmael was responsible for. He also was accountable for killing many people. Ishmael’s corporal had all of the boy soldiers practice killing rebels. While practicing, Ishmael claims “The corporal gave the signal with a pistol shot and I grabbed the man’s head and slit his throat in one fluid motion” (Beah 125). Ishmael, obviously, was the victimizer in many of the situation he describes in the book. He practiced how to kill people, when most children at his age were practicing their

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