Beah inspires Cabrini students of his reflections of being boy soldier

By Liz Kerstetter
February 21, 2008

Middle school is supposed to bring new experiences like switching classes and making new friends. It is not supposed to be about learning how to use an AK-47 and using any drug around in order to stay alert. Unfortunately, these are the experiences facing over 300,000 children and adolescents in foreign feuding countries.

Ishmael Beah, author of “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” writes about what life was like through the eyes of a child soldier.

Beah, whose childhood innocence was destroyed at the age of 12, was forced to leave his home in Sierra Leone when rebel forces attacked. Beah was recruited into the national army by the age of thirteen, and taught to kill without regard. Beah remained because he had no where else to go and thought he was doing the right thing by fighting for his country. The soldiers were repeatedly given unknown drugs in order to keep them alert and ready to fight.

Beah is one of many child soldiers but he is the first to make it out alive and write a book about it. The book is of great importance to society because people need to be aware of what is going on. Although disturbing and upsetting at times, the book is important because it shows the alarming consequences of war and calls for change.

The book is reminiscent of Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” which was written so that he and others would never forget the event of the Holocaust. Whether or not it was Beah’s intention for his book to have the same effect, it will surly have a lasting impression on reader’s that no one will forget.

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Liz Kerstetter

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