September 2, 2014
How Young Boys Turn Violent
Children during the civil war in Sierra Leon between 1991 and 2002 many times were one their own. They where forced to leave their villages and many of them lost their families during the process. As a result, young kids were forced to travel on their own unsure of where they were going or what they were going to do next. This is what happened to Ishmael Beah, the author of Long Way Gone. He had no family and no home. He later joined the army where he and other children were treated inhumanly and turned into soldiers. Through constant violence, brainwashing, and brotherhood innocent children can become violent.
The children soldiers in Sierra Leone everyday had to kill rebels and the only entertainment they had was violent war movies. The only thing these kids knew was killing so it felt normal to them. Ishmael illustrates the normality of killing when he says, “Sometimes we were asked to leave for war in the middle of a movie. We would come back hours later after killing many people and continue the movie as if we had just returned from intermission” (124). These children were stuck in a cycle that is strictly about killing. This has a serious effect on young children later on in life and Ishmael has experienced these same problems. After a month of living in New York, he still has nightmares about his time as a boy soldier. He explains this when he says, “These days I live in three worlds: my dreams, and the experiences of my new life, which trigger memories from the past” (20). This shows how the army in Sierra Leone has damaged young kids’ minds. They will go to any length to turn these kids violent.
The child soldiers in this book are definitely brainwashed. They are both physically and mentally manipulated into thinking that killing is one hundred percent normal. Their lieutenants would always try to tell the boys that their enemies deserve to die....