“These days I live in three worlds, my dreams, and the experiences of my new life, which trigger memories from the past.”- Ismael Beah
These words come from Ismael Beah, a fighter and a survivor, whose past experience has defined his life mission. A Long Way Gone is a biography based on Ishmael’s Beah’s struggle through the civil war in Sierre Leone. While reading this book, I was reminded of the movie “Blood Diamonds” and the countless films about young boy soldiers. I found myself skimming many pages, because the gore was just too much. Although I had the luxury to skim and skip through some of the pages, these young children and innocent civilians had no where to escape or skim. The horror lived in the air they breathed.
Although Reading the Conflict Made Me Cringe; To Every War Torn Story, There Is a Ray of Hope That Brings Beauty to the Story:
In spite of all the terrible events in Ishmael’s life, he finds a way to prevail. Through out his experience in Sierre Leone, he experiences many “rebirths” as an effort to “win” the “battle”. He goes from being the victim of war to being the antagonist to becoming the victim again; only to eventually find a way out of the grim. In his escape, he finds love again and meaning to his existence. Towards the end of the 11 year conflict, he joins the United Nations as a way to advocate that other children will not be subjected in the future to the tragedy he had to endure.
The Struggles Experienced Help Clarify The Purpose of One’s Existence:
After reading about so many civil conflicts, they all begin to sound the same. The ugly side of human nature can be so destructive and negative; yet the beauty of human nature brings glitter to the sky. The protagonists of the last few books I have read, have been amazing young characters that have raced against death to cradle the message of good faith, strength, hope, and love to humanity. Their “good fight” inspires the soul to flourish and embrace any and all sorts of challenges.