A Way Long Gone
Ishmael Beah. A soldier at the tender age of 12 in Sierra Leone is forced to see more than I can comprehend. He loses his parents during the escape as he hears war is coming to his town. This book written by himself is an account of what he goes through as he tries to survive in a country experiencing civil war.
The fact that some are compelled to tread through lands they never have, in search of a country with peace, where war has yet to taint. They move through areas under the hot, scorching sun or the heavy rains, disease being the last of their worries. the only thought in their minds is that “Survival is imperative. I have to live.” Covered with clothes that have seen better days, they are either caught by rebel groups and shot or come out of this scenario by becoming rebels themselves for whatever cause they are fighting for. The soldiers then engrave in their minds for them to get used to death and killings and that guns are their only “saviors”. As they get used to the sight of blood and screams from their dying victims, nightmares from their hard actions commence in their sleep. They wonder if they will ever see their families again, if the killings will ever stop, if peace will reign once more, if life would get better. These worries- the nightmares filled with screams and bloody events, the addiction arose from the frequent intake of drugs and the need to always look behind your back to save yourself, it pains me how Ishmael coped with all this.
Reading this book, I do not think I could withstand even a week in the forests, seeking shelter from rebel groups, going for days without water and food and having to ward off deadly animals. Where do I start? We really are blessed. Taking for granted the family we have, safe and sound, the love that is showered upon us, we take for granted, the clothes that we are provided with, we are still ungrateful, the foods on our tables we do not touch not considering the number of stomachs starving at that point in time.
This book brings tears to my eyes as I reflect on what we take for granted. I shall wish not, even on my worst enemy, to experience civil wars. Not all of us would come out of it, unscarred, alive even. With hearts that were once softer, I think not.