A Long Way Gone
A few days ago I finished the book, “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah.
The book is his memoirs about being recruited to be a child-soldier in Sierra Leon in the 1990s. The story follows him from childhood and running from the war, to being recruited to fight, through a rehabilitation clinic run byUNICEF and then to a new home in the United States.
Often we hear from groups (that will not be named here because I don’t want to give them one more search result on the internet) telling us what it is like to be a child soldier. These are mostly white suburbanites who think that one more rally of white suburbanites and a little bit more awareness among those people will change the the situations in these countires. Groups like this one tend to raise a lot of money to print a lot of t-shirts to give out to people here, but really only get about 25 cents from every dollar back into that country.
It was refreshing to read that the groups that really changed this kids life were the nonprofits and world organizations that funnel tons of people, money and resources back into these areas like UNICEF and other related organizations who specialize in child rehabilitation and care.
I know I have said it before, and I will say it again. I love UNICEF, and it was good to see that my love of this organization was not misplaced. Beah himself said that it was this organization that saved him.
The book is a telling story about what it is like growing up in a war-torn country. This is something that is becoming more and more visible to Americans through cinematic depictions like “Hotel Rwanda” or the less popular but perhaps better “Sometimes in April.” However, to my knowledge this is the first real book to come from a child soldier, I could be wrong about that.
Whatever the case, it is a valuable book to read and a book that is worth adding to your library whether you are in to psychology, education, politics or really love stories of redemption and hope.