The use of children in the Sierra Leone Civil War was widespread, with up to 10,000 children taking part in the conflict and up to eighty percent of RUF forces between the ages of seven and fourteen. Ishmael is one of these children. In his memoir, A Long Way Gone, Lieutenant Jabati and his men exploit several techniques to transform these frightened children into ruthless killing machines. They do this through the use of drugs, pop culture, as well as character and emotional manipulation. Tactics like these create habits and addictions that are almost impossible to break.
First, drugs and alcohol were prevalent in the war and were used as a prerequisite before combat exercises. Beah is given white pills before his first raid, he was told they …show more content…
They are taught to funnel all their built up emotions against the rebels. The corporal tells them to, “Visualize the enemy, the rebels who killed your parents, your family, and those who are responsible for everything that has happened to you.” The corporal would say this over and over, and soon the kids were accustomed to taking out their hatred on the rebels. They wanted to kill. Beah and the other boys trusted their military leaders, lieutenant Jabati especially. They no longer had any sort of parental figure in their lives, and Jabati fills in this void. He recites Shakespeare with Ishmael for example, something his father used to do with him. He uses his influence to further distance them from their old selves, organizing competitions in which the person who kills their prisoner the fastest is the winner. This is a big step for some of the boy soldiers, as they have to execute someone while looking them in the eyes. When Beah won one of these contests, he was promoted to junior lieutenant. He writes that the combination of drugs made him fierce and killing had become as easy as drinking water (Beah, 2007). At this point Beah’s innocence is completely gone, he enjoys killing, and claims that being apart of something makes him feel
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The book Memoirs of an Addicted Brain follows Marc Lewis and his adventures in doing different types of drugs. Marc goes to boarding school in Boston, Tabor, where he was homesick and being bullied by the other children. Marc starts doing drugs to fit in. He started using legal drugs like cough medicine and alcohol but progressed to doing more illegal drugs like marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, and LSD. The more illegal drugs were accessible at the Berkeley university since there was a large hippie movement.
To morph into a successful warrior, children are instructed to consume illicit substances. A commander’s objective is to embolden his recruits and vanquish them of innocence through drug use. Once addicted, naïve minds become dependent and can be controlled. The power dynamic between soldier and commander therefore becomes supremely one-sided. Beah states that he is coerced into ingesting “white tablets” by a soldier.
An autobiography, of which Ishmael Beah unwillingly becomes a child solider due to a civil war that has arisen in Sierra Leone. Before the attacks had happen, Ishmael and his elder brother Junior had gone from home to perform Rap in Mattru Jong with their friends. Not long after their arrival, news of the rebels had come to their attention having raided their home town and no sign of their families being unscarred from the warfare. Ishmael, and his group of friends sought out to travel to each village seeking out their family. However trouble comes across due to the majority of RUF rebel attacks were caused by children around their age, many villagers had no trust for these kids.
Who is Ishmael Beah? Why is he important in Sierra Leone history? Well, Ishmael Beah is the author of A Long Way Gone, and, more importantly, former child soldier of Sierra Leone. A Long Way Gone is an autobiography of how Beah faced the violence of Sierra Leone. Today, he stands to help children avoid the vision of war; to protect children’s rights.
As a result, he killed every person he saw move an inch out of pure anger. Beah’s army unit also frequently used drugs especially the leaders of the group. The usage of drugs helped Beah cope with his feelings of killing people. Beah experienced many other battles and wars with other groups through out his life. One particular occurred when he was at the age of 15 in 1996.
Ishmael has accept the fact that the war has ruined his enjoyment of meeting new people. Because of him going into villages and being chased out because they believed he was a rebel, Or having to go through other villages because he knew nobody there and he knew what was coming to their village and he did not want to stay had ruined the experience for him until later on in his life. Ishmael's experiences force him to deny his emotional side in order to survive. His flight from RUF attacks on the various villages in Sierra Leone requires him to let go of attachments to family and friends. Although he holds out hope to see his family, he has no choice but to close off himself to the world.
A Long Way Gone is a memoir of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, who struggles to keep his humanity. Ishmael Beah, the author, achieved success once he went off to speak at the United Nations conference and when he realized that he could not go back to the war. Beah achieved success when he went off to New York and spoke at the United Nations conference. As Beah sat around the conference listening to all the other children that represented their country, Beah sat proudly “behind the Sierra Leone name plaque..
Ishmael woke up in the middle of the night firing his gun when the lieutenant and corporal “threw water on [his] face and gave [him] a few more of the white capsules” (120). Ishmael has had nightmares before but this is the first time it has happened when he’s a soldier. The white capsules are speed or the proper name for them is methamphetamine. These drugs were given to child soldiers to keep them alert and awake. This causes addiction to speed which is terrible for kids.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a written, first-hand experience by the author himself, Ishmael Beah. After surviving the war, he did a fantastic job describing his journey for survival. The memoir is very descriptive and a good read. Beah writes about the horrors that he saw when he was a ‘Boy Soldier’. This novel is another addition to the collection of nonfiction survival stories.
Not experiencing war is a luxury many people unfortunately do not get; however, Ishmael Beah, the author of A Long Way Gone, lives and survives the war, though not without heartache. With war there is always fear, death, and hell. Ishmael Beah proves war is hell through the killing of civilians, the distrust, and the after effects of the war. Ishmael proves war is hell through the killing of civilians. Many innocent bystanders of the war are forced out of their homes, made to run for their lives.
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.
That night we were so hungry that we stole people’s food while they slept. It was the only way to get through the night” (29). Correspondingly, Beah and his friends did what they had to do to survive at least through that night. Beah knew that by taking the food he was enabling the survival of others, but in that moment, the only worry on his mind was his own survival; that later on turns into a day-to-day situation. Furthermore, with the war and trying to survive, Beah was not able to
Ishmael Beah’s memoir A Long Way Gone is appropriate for the Sterling High School English IV curriculum because the conflicts in Sierra Leone are still relevant in today’s society, and the figurative language and symbolism reveal the human resilience to survive. These are important ideas to an English IV student because learning from the past can assure we will not repeat these mistakes in the future, and learning about someone who went through very difficult circumstances and still prevailed helps prepare us for the harsh real world. Most importantly, the conflicts in Sierra Leone are still universal problems in today’s society. One night while Beah lays in bed and reflects on the days meeting with Esther, he begins to have flash backs of the first time he slit
Beah’s text encompasses the perseverance he carries while facing a war that could take his life. Without the war changing his way of life, he would not have had to steal food to insure the next day. Another example of maturation is when Ishmael was forced to fight in the army. “ He took out the magazine and handed me the AK with two hands. I hesitated for a bit, but he pushed the gun against my chest, With trembling hands, I took the gun and saluted him...still holding the gun, but afraid to look at it (Beah 111)”.