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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

He's a Universal Soldier

These past few days I’ve been totally engrossed in reading A Long Way Home: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.

Beah’s journey from youngster to alone and homeless in war torn Sierra Leone to teenage soldier forced to perform unthinkable torture on civilians and soldiers to rehabilitation and escaping his country is astounding. It’s written in a matter-of-fact style that doesn’t ask for sympathy but simply tells his story the way it happened.

At times I was in disbelief, horrified, and uncomfortable at what I was reading. But I knew I had to continue reading. Beah’s story is that important.

I look back on my own teenage years and cannot imagine being so young and having to endure what happened to Beah. For me the biggest worry was what I was going to do on Friday night. For Beah is was whether or not he’d survive the barrage of bullets, scarcity of food, and torture that surrounded him.

Let’s hope that A Long Way Home: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier reaches a mass audience and convinces people that child soldiers are not the answer.

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