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| Violent Memories Essay

The violence witnessed during wars is so intense that it devastates the lives of the majority. This is what happened to the Sierra Leonean society. Years after the war, evidence indicates that a majority of the people in Sierra Leone had their lives completely altered by the tribulations they went through. These effects on the lives of the children are more serious as compared to those of the adults. This is due to the fact that childhood is the period when individuals lay the basis of whom they become later in life. The memoir of Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, is a captivating reminiscence of the events that took place during the time of extreme violence. It includes events that explicate instances of psychological, social and physical trauma (Beah). The idea “You make your own destiny” is true because the author endeavors to escape and survive, despite his former involvement in the war as a child soldier, and it has born fruit._x000D_
Ishmael was a mere 12 year-old child from a tiny village in rural Sierra Leone. He spent most of his time playing with peers. It all started during the period, when the author stayed at Mattru Jong. This is the time when hundreds of rebels attacked the villagers, killing many of them before taking recruits and prisoners. The young author endured witnessing of several people being shot dead or murdered gruesomely. The author witnessed beheadings and other forms of brutal attacks. He argues that rivers used to be filled with blood (Beah 49). Eventually, Ishmael had to join the war as a soldier, especially because of the loss of friends and relatives. The officers taught the child soldiers to visualize the killers of their relatives and friends as this would encourage them to seek revenge. They, therefore, became cold and hardened killers (Beah 119)._x000D_
As time went by, violence became their way of life, as Beah described himself. He recalled that they had been fighting for more than two years, and killing was a norm of every day that came by. The author himself became pitiless and indifferent to anyone. He goes on with his story, saying that his childhood was slowly robbed of him, without his awareness (Beah 126). Later, he and a few of his former fellow fighters were rescued by social workers and taken to a rehabilitation centre. Initially they were flared by confusion of the eventuality. The social workers, who would later act as their mentors considered them to be juvenile boys whose fate had been transformed from being innocent young boys to murderers. The social worker noted that the boys were dangerous, since they had been brainwashed into becoming murderers. As such, a mere change of the environment would not retransform them._x000D_
Since they just began rehabilitating, there were some challenges they needed to cope up with (Beah 135). As the rehabilitation continued, they teased and assaulted staff and those they considered as “Sissy civilians”. The juveniles slowly acquired their normal life and began to view each other more exactly as a family, but not as an opposition to enemies. Despite the fact that he had stayed with his uncle, Beah felt strong enough to retaliate as the battle broke up in the city they were living in. The rehabilitation centre was more interested in getting rid of the brutal habit that the boys had formed to resolve their disagreements. However, there were more areas they considered being important, especially where fighting had pitted the young boys both mentally and physically (Carpenter 80)._x000D_
By that time Beah was rescued from the battle front, he had been beaten, bruised, burned, stabbed and even cut at the same time. Therefore he developed migraines. He had lost most of his body senses as the body tried to adapt to the new extreme situations he encountered. He even smashed and broke a window while they were still undergoing rehabilitation. He seemed to experience no pain as a nurse removed broken glasses from his hand. Fortunately, he was lucky enough not to have suffered from any of the long-term defects or ailments. But conversely, he suffered from a more severe mental damage because of the ordeals he had previously undergone. This became more complicated as the drug levels declined in his body, since he had to deal with disturbing thoughts. Sometimes they acted crazy, fleeing in terror, and awoke nightmares (Beah 145)._x000D_
On many occasions, the occurrences reminded Beah of his past and this sparked off terrible memories. As a result of such happenings, many of the former child soldiers can hardly trust to anyone today. They learned how to be self-sufficing, and a few of them showed the willing to discuss their minds and feelings freely. Indeed, it took Beah a considerable amount of time to garner the courage to tell his story. As time went by, he began trusting to his close people, a situation that enabled him to begin working with Esther. He became free enough to tell of his past and even tried to remember the situation before the war erupted (Beah 165). _x000D_
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a real life historical account that seeks to explicate the effects of war, violence and brutality. These effects can either be social, mental or physical. They are more painful when youngsters are involved, and this is evident from the memoir. Nevertheless, while it is expected that the survivors of such brutality are left pitted or severely damaged by their experiences, Beah has managed to live and tell this inspiring story (Carpenter 78). The idea “You make your own destiny” is true because Beah has managed to pull himself out of those troubling moments and has rehabilitated his perception of life.

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