This literary piece “The Making and Unmaking of a child soldier” by Ishmael Beah, unravels aspects of the world often looked over. The book opens an eye on how child soldiers are used as spawn for civil wars for ruthless warlords over drug empires in Sierra Leone. Children are forced to become soldiers to serve for military and save their country, Sierra Leone. Child soldiers are also forced to work and there are many different jobs which are given to child soldiers.
Have you ever mentioned the subject of child soldiers in a standard conversation? Most likely not. Child soldiers are not an everyday discussion topic, but recently they have grown more and more popular. While in the past, “children were not particularly effective as front-line fighters since most of the lethal hardware was too heavy and cumbersome for them to manipulate” (unicef.org), weapons have become lighter, and younger infantries have followed suit. While childhoods usually don’t consist of shooting people, taking villages, and other awful acts of war, they can, and this physiologically impacts a child. However, although the acts that child soldiers carry out may be horrific, they can still be forgiven and the children can be reconciled.
How would you feel if you were recruited as a soldier during war? Since 2001, the participation of child soldiers has been reported in 21 on-going or recent armed conflicts in almost every region of the world. The importance of this is portrayed in Ishmael Beah’s memoir A Long Way Gone. The author believes that innocent kids should not be selected to fight as soldiers, lose their innocence killing people, witnessing violent scenes and suffer because of war. This is seen throughout the symbolism of the novel.
Although child soldiers have done many horrendous things like kill innocent people and forcibly recruit more children, there is a reason for everything and in this case is being forced and the influence of drugs and alcohol. These children may seem dangerous in every aspect but always remember that they never choose to commit these atrocious crimes. In fact, as you finish reading, keep in mind that they are just like every other normal human being out there except they were not as lucky as you are because they unfortunately were those who became child
In the article “Should Child Soldiers be Prosecuted for their Crimes?” it states, “‘... this principle might mitigate the responsibility of a child soldier who was forcibly recruited and forced, under threat of harm, to commit war crimes,’ ICRC adviser Young said”(Johannesburg). This shows that sometimes child soldiers are forced into committing a war crime which is illegal. And it would be very unfair if child soldiers were prosecuted because it is their commanders that are pushing them and forcing them to do such acts. It isn’t the child 's fault because they don’t know or understand what is happening and they don’t know they are doing something wrong because the leader told them to do it. Also, according to the Invisible Children Association, “...child soldiers are often forced into fighting through false promises. They are also forced into fighting through drugs and alcohol.” This shows how they are forced and they think what they are doing is okay because they are brainwashed. These children are being misled and sometimes threatened to commit horrible acts, that they wouldn’t do if they knew what was happening. But these children were never taught what is right and wrong. Also, there are better things than
On top of that almost all child soldiers are drugged, to subdue them so that they will do what they are told without hesitation. Also while they are drugged the child soldiers are brainwashed by the commanders everyday to trick the kids into thinking what they are doing is good. CNN reporter states that “Once recruited, many are brainwashed, trained, given drugs and then sent into battle with orders to kill.”(O'Neill Paragraph 3). Because these kids are young and are high, when threatened, they will do almost anything because they are scared, and worried that they could die. Along with this they aren't just using regular drugs, but they are using drugs that make child soldiers into super soldiers. In a recent
In the article Should Child Soldiers be Prosecuted For Their Crimes it says,“if a child is under the age of 15 is considered too young to fight then he or she must be considered too young to be held criminally responsible for serious violations.” This explains how that they are easily manipulated and targeted because they aren't legally responsible to take responsibility for their actions. Each child were held in hostilities and couldn't have to opportunity to not fight. Also in Should Child Soldiers be Prosecuted For Their Crimes a report within the article it says, “ The report says child soldiers should not be prosecuted simply for the association with an armed group of having participation in hostilities.” Children are targeted to be recruited to war because nobody can take responsibility for the
On DebateWise.org it is stated that some kids join because they live in poverty and will otherwise starve to death. They feel like they don’t have any choice but to join. Other times they are convinced being a soldier will be safer for them, that they will be safer when they’re the ones behind the gun, not in front of it. In Ishmael Beah’s “Long Way Gone” he describes how during the civil war in Sierra Leone, rebels would march into cities and chose the children who seemed the strongest. Many times the rebels would then force their newly recruited members to kill weaker civilians in the city. Any child would be terrified in this scenario, which is why they follow their orders. Even though not all children are forced into fighting, they are still too young to fully understand the life-changing decision they have made. Some children enlist because they seek revenge. In Ishmael Beah’s novel he states, “I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I 've come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end...” Children who decided to fight for revenge are not in a stable situation after they are angry and heartbroken. This quote proves that surviving is the main priority to child soldiers, so they do things without processing the
An unhealthy obsession with guns, being drugged to make killings seem normal, and being undoubtedly loyal to commanders is only part of what a child soldier is. Child soldiers can be dangerous and make up many armies in war-torn countries. In much of the world, usually in unstable countries, when conflict breaks out, children can quickly be swept up and put on the front lines to fight. Children may carry ten-pound guns and use bullets twice the size of their fingers. Some children are old enough to understand what they are doing, and others have no idea. When these children use their weapons, others are killed, and these children can get prosecuted. Child soldiers should be given amnesty because they are not fully responsible for their actions, they join without fully knowing what they are doing and for reasons other than wanting to fight, and they should be rehabilitated instead of being prosecuted.
Have you ever imagined growing up on a life of drugs, war, crime, and seeing things that many adults won’t dare to ever see? In many countries around the world, this is what many children have to deal with. There is an occurring issue of people across Africa and parts of Asia using children as soldiers in war. They act and take upon the roles of real combatants, causing the people of the public to act in different ways. It’s been well documented that these children have used guns and war tactics, and committed various illegal and illicit acts of violence. However, what they’ve done doesn 't come with the fact that child soldiers live with rugged conditions, drugs, the influence of others. Even though some people believe that child soldier’s shouldn’t be given amnesty, overall, it becomes clear that these children should be given amnesty because many adults influence their actions, they live in inferior conditions, and children who enlist as child soldiers enlist for multiple reasons other than violence.
“ Many children volunteer to become soldiers in wartime out of patriotism or a desire to avenge the death of their families.” This tells me that they do it for protection or like payback for what they had done before to everyone. “ At the time they might believe that recruiting would lead to a safer life as necessities as food, water and shelter would be available.” This tells me that some child soldiers join and everything because they need food and somewhere to live because they don't have it and they need it. This is another reason why I think child soldiers should be
They admit to what they did. Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier, got rescued from his previous service. Although it was hard for him to recover and he didn’t want to leave at first, he realizes what he did was wrong. He wrote a whole book on his experiences. “I will never be able to forget any of what happened to me. I’ve come to learn how to live with it… you forgive yourself and you forgive others.” Ishmael regrets what he did and doesn’t believe that any child soldier should be prosecuted. He forgives everyone so that he can be able to move on with his life. If anyone knows best about what happened, shouldn’t it be the people who actually went through it? They have first hand accounts on how cruel the commanders were or how their lives were being put in danger every second of the day. In the article, “CHILD SOLDIERS AND THE GLOBAL AGENDA” it says, “Children need be the victims of war only if there is no will to prevent it.” This helps show how children should not be involved in war in the first place. They aren’t the ones who have started the war. It isn’t their fault in the first place so why are people punishing the children for their involvement when it wasn’t their fault. They expect the kids to serve time or to get a death sentence when it was adults like them who brought them into this mess. The expect them to apologize when they
The first time Ishmael was ever touched by war was at age 12. At 13, he was picked by the Government Army and brought to a vicious and brutal world. He woke up everyday with fear of dying. He tried his best to look the toughest and satisfy the rebels by fulfilling their demands. Ishmael took a dose of drugs daily to keep him energized and to keep him awake. There are hundreds of young boys like Ishmael, recruited and refined to exceed the leaders’ commands. Nice normal boys are modified and turned into murderous drug addicting killers who no longer know what’s right from wrong. These child soldiers are forced into a world of ominous leaders and commanders who don’t have an alternative. If child soldiers do try and escape they are killed on
As long as former child soldiers show that they will not recommit their acts of violence, they should be granted amnesty. Child soldiers are often forced into being violent. They shouldn’t be held responsible for things that they were essentially forced to do. Although there is plenty of evidence showing that child soldiers should be given amnesty, some may argue the opposite. People may say that they could sacrifice their own lives instead of killing others, but that is too much to expect of kids. These child soldiers are also usually brainwashed and forced to take drugs before committing violence. If child soldiers are “fixed,” they shouldn’t be punished or judged because of their acts as a child soldier.
Where many children all over the world merrily and freely live under the protection of the law, for others, this is a distant reality, they live in a world where they’re battling poverty, stripped of their childhood and basic human rights are expunged, they’re the innocent victims of conflict, and war is made to seem their one and only duty, not to mention that these are children no more than 10 years of age. They are put into a situation where it’s to kill or be killed. The United Nations defines a child soldier as, “Any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity.” Since the past 15 years, child soldiers are being used in almost every region of the world. Unlike most children, who go to school, they’re abducted from their families and forced into becoming a child soldier, where living conditions are beyond imaginable. This has an adverse impact on their mental, social, and physical health. Many may presume that once the child’s gun is confiscated, the problem is solved; however, this is far from reality; getting a gun away from a child is one objective, and the rehabilitation process is another. Amnesty International is running a campaign to raise awareness of this major underlying issue.