Dear Ishmael Beah,
Many people in the USA live in their own bubble because America does not have many things to worry about, like civil war. Crime is common like in every other country, but since we are the most powerful and secure country in the world, we don’t have 3rd world issues like poverty and civil war today. But, in your Memoir “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”, you described the harsh reality of living in the 3rd world country Sierra Leone, in Northwestern Africa and how your point of view is much harsher and more real than many people in other countries. This caused my perspective of how the world is outside the USA immensely. Even though I have always been a realist, you described the gruesome details of how you lost your family, was recruited into the Army and killed many Rebels and their families, all in revenge for the death of your family. The elaborate description of these events caused my perspective of the world in many ways including the reality of civil wars now in modern days and how savage people can become in search of revenge.
Before reading this Memoir, I thought that civil wars were a thing of the past. Most Civil Wars that you hear about in school happened in the 1700’s and 1800’s where guns were inaccurate and unreliable and the use of guerrilla warfare was not very common. But After reading and analyzing “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” that idea was eradicated from my thoughts. You started off the text with how a normal life a kid should be, going to school, playing games, etc. But, the Civil war hit suddenly, destroying you way of life in a second to the point where you have to run for your life, literally. Now that guns are be so accurate, such as the AK-47 and many explosive devices such as the RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) which were both widely used in the civil war as well as the G3 Battle Rifle, which you used all of them, the death toll and the severity of the war and damage caused climbed the scale. To add on top of the accurate weapons, the use of guerrilla tactics, such as ambushes and executions, made the Civil War worse and more deadly than what it was back in the day. The Memoir changed my view on the world by really opened my eyes to the modern day Civil Wars that have happened and are still happening today which had never crossed my mind before reading this book.
Secondly, the Memoir changed my mind on the world by showing me how savage people can become in search of revenge. Before I read the book, I never have experienced or heard about how savage people can be in search of revenge. Sure there are murders and killings in America that are super gruesome, but the level of savagery that you displayed as well as the Rebels displayed awes me. The fact that someone can kill a whole family, burn down their village, and execute or make that prisoners suffer like the Rebels as well as the Army did I never thought a human could come to terms with. Yes this is very uncommon and doesn’t take play around the world, but I never imagined even one country could be that savage.
Two quotes from the text also had a great impact, shifting my view on the world that I thought I knew. First, “When I was very little, my father used to say, ‘If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.’ I thought about these words during my journey, and they kept me moving even when I didn’t know where I was going. Those words became the vehicle that drove my spirit forward and made it stay alive” (Beah, 54). This quote impacted me heavily because I live by this standard too. With the hope of making it into the military when I graduate college, giving up hope in a life or death situation will always end up in death. But, in no way shape or form can anyone besides those brave boy soldiers could truly understand the meaning behind this quote. Secondly, “I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I’ve come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end…” (Beah, 199). This quote heavily impacted me because I, as well as many others, only want revenge for what has happened to us. But, when revenge is the route that someone takes, the person they get revenge on will now want revenge back on that person. This quote truly represents why revenge should never be the answer and in situations as serious as the one you were in, it is definitely not the answer.
In conclusion, in the Memoir, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ishmael Beah, it changed my perspective on the world in many ways. First, it made me realize that civil wars are still currently happening in the modern age. Also, it opened my eyes to how savage people can become just to get revenge on what someone did to them.