An estimated 300,000 child soldiers now fight in the more than 50 violent conflicts raging around the globe. Far removed from the world of pundits and journalists, policymakers and diplomats, a 13-year-old boy names Ishmael Beah became one of these young warriors in Sierra leone, Africa. Now in his mid-twenties, he courageously tells of the horrific road that led him to wield an AK-47 and, fueled by trauma and drugs, commit terrible acts. In poignantly clear and dauntless storytelling, Ishmael describes how he fled brutal rebal soldiers, traveled miles from home on foot and gradually regressed to a life of raw survival instncts. Yet, unlike so many of his peers, Ishmael lived to reclaim his true self, emerging from Sierra Leone as the gentle, hopeful young man he was at heart. (Reading Guide)
Childhood is a precious and sacred thing yet it can be taken away in one fell swoop by evil men intent on taking power by any means necessary.
Ishmael Beah and I were both born in 1980. While I grew up in the comfort and security of this country Ishmael and his family were living thousands of miles away in the African nation of Sierra Leone. While I was going through the supposed trials and tribulations of junior high, Ishmael was living through a very real hell fleeing from rebels in a land torn apart by war and unspeakable savagery. In 1993, Beah was kidnapped and forced into an army made up of his peers- mere children. The whole idea of children forced into fighting a war is despicable yet this evil happens everyday. The only way to stop this treachery is to become aware of it and to become vocal about its abolition.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishamel Beah is his account, in his own words, of his capture, torture, and malipulation by the hands of his captors into becoming a child soldier. Beah was able to escape but the same cannot be said for the thousands of other young boys snatched from their homes and huts everyday. Beah story is harrowing and needs to be told.
A Long Way Gone is on sale now at your local Starbucks. Pick up a copy and get educated. There is also a reading guide bookmark available at the POS.
Over the next couple of days, I will be blogging through the book. I will be posting additional information on how you too can get involved. If you would like to read it with me drop me a line and let me know that you are interested. Also, on March 6, I am planning on attending the book signing and conversation with Beah at the Starbucks on Greenville Ave in Dallas. Let me know if you are in the area and you want to attend with me.
There are fires burning that need to be put out. It’s time to let your actions speak loudly.