Gone By Ishmael Beah

1499 Words6 Pages
The Road to Becoming a Child Soldier “I am from Sierra Leone, and the problem that is affecting us children is the war that forces us to run away from our homes, lose our families, and aimlessly roam the forests” (Beah 199). The memoir called a long way gone written by Ishmael Beah, is about a boy who lives through the deadly civil war in Sierra Leone. At the start of his story, Ishmael was traveling to a town named Mattru Jong, when the war broke out at his home town. Him and six of his friends, one of them being his older brother, all fled Mattru Jong, in attempts to escape the fighting and death. After endless days of going through the motions of walking, searching for food, and running from gunshots, they were all separated; Ishmael being…show more content…
Not only was this a force that drove Ishmael to becoming a child soldier, but it was a force that drove many children to becoming soldiers who killed anyone and everyone, in order for them to feel as if they had avenged the deaths of their family and loved ones. “…families have encouraged sons to join opposition groups as a means of avenging the deaths of family members or of seeking ‘blood revenge’” (Wessells). According to this text, it was actually a quite popular reason for people to have joined the armies at young ages. Children and adults alike both lost family members to the war, and the death of loved ones sparked anger as well as a will for revenge to get back at the people who killed their family and friends. The same thing seemed to have occurred for Ishmael, in the sense that his family was killed. He wanted to seek revenge for those who had inflicted the terrible occurrence upon him and his family. Before he was angry though, he went through a phase of being upset. When his family had first passed away, he even told himself: “I didn’t care. I wanted to see my family, even if that meant dying to be with them” (Beah 96). After a period of time where he was very upset, his emotion switched to anger, and that was when he realized that he wanted revenge. Every little thing made him angrier, for example when another told him…show more content…
Many children, much like Ishmael, were given the choice between having a chance to live by joining the army, or to be left to die. Many, again much like Ishmael, chose to join the army, as they felt there was no other choice. They joined the army in order to survive, and it isn’t fair to charge them for something they had no control over. If they were founders of the organizations that started the war, then yes, it is fair to charge them with war crimes. If they were someone who was trying to escape but ended up being pulled into the war and forced to kill others so they could survive; those people should be granted with at least the amnesty of not being charged for war crimes. Even though the things done were horrible, and the amount of people the children killed may or may not be a very large number, often times the children were forced to do so, and it wouldn’t be fair to put the child on trial for the crime, instead of the people threatening the
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