Friday, February 25, 2011

Story of a Child Soldier

DID YOU KNOW THAT: over 30 wars and conflicts rage around the world.Many of these wars go unreported, often due to political expediency or lack of interest. -WarChildInternational-


I  just finished this book and it was incredible. It's about the civil war in Sierra Leon and Ishmael and other children and families' fights to survive. Young boys were turned into soldiers in order to defeat the rebels and many many lives were ruined. It's a tragic story. As far as my opinion of the book... it has a lot of difficult things to read but was written incredibly well. I know that I personally enjoy reading about controversial topics and also enjoy true crime books, so I have a little higher tolerance for that sort of thing. But the way that Beah wrote the book was in such a way that the painful things did not completely overwhelm you. They are facts, as I'm sure they were to him at the time. Get through the day. That's it. Cut & Dried.

Here is Ishmael reading an exert from his book

I'd like to make a comment the part that music played in his life. I've always thought that music can heal and in this case it not only helps him do that but saves his life in certain instances. Growing up he listened to American rap music with his friends and they would learn the lyrics and dance and sing for crowds... not too different from what my friends and I used to do back in the day... after the war started and they were forced to run from village to village people didn't trust them because so many young boys were being recruited into the war; both on the rebel side and the soldier side. They were taken into villages and threatened and given tests to prove they weren't soldiers. Many times his rap cassette saved their lives. And after he was taken to the rehabilitation camp listening to music again brought him back to reality and sanity. Props to rap music! I never would've thought!!! -----------sidenote----------- in the last youtube clip I've included here he mentions hip hop; he says that he enjoyed the early hip hop because of the words that were used in the lyrics, like soliloquy... which he says are not used in rap music today. Interesting. ----------------------------------

When I read a true story I like to do more research after I've finished it. I've read enough memoirs and non-fiction that I can say I believe that truth is stranger than fiction. It really is. You can't write some of the things that come up in non-fiction books. It's incredible. I have such respect for this incredible person. And he is so well spoken. I've included several links throughout this post - UNICEF was the organization that stepped in to help rehabilitate these children. I've also found WarChild which is another organization that does the same things. TheChildrenOfWar is another one.

Here's another interesting clip from youtube... it's a clip of Ishmael on some tv show talking about the book. It's a great clip, especially if you'd like to hear about the story before reading the book, or just hear about stuff from the author himself. check it out.......

And another... where he speaks at a school. Very interesting. This one is a lot longer than the previous one. His English is so good! .....cute guy too :) Too bad his facebook says he's "in a relationship". darn that facebook! haha Oh well. ;)

Ishmael's attitude is so inspiring. For a child to go from incredible daily violence to the well spoken and positive man he is today is incredible. He mentions how the human spirit is resilient. How true. Especially a child's. It never ceases to amaze me the things that people get through and can turn around and use for good. "it's a long term goal, it is difficult, but it's possible". These kinds of stories remind me that life is ultimately beautiful and we should respect it.

Oh, I also have to mention... when he finally comes to New York for a child of war conference they didn't tell him that he needed a COAT in DECEMBER in NEW YORK!!! What!? hahaahahaha. How could they do that to this poor guy from Africa!? He had no idea! He says it was snowing and the only relationship he had with snow was Christmas movies and he said he thought "it must be Christmas every day!" I love the way he describes his experience of New York in the book. It's so funny! He says it's the most uncomfortable country in the world! Freezing cold outside and HOT inside! (cuz they didn't show him how to turn down the thermostat!). The things we take for granted... interesting stuff man.

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Please feel free to comment. I do review my comments to deter slander. Thank you for your consideration and again, thanks for reading. Have a lovely day! - Ciara