World Lit P4
11 December 2013
A Long Way Gone
Everyone is like the moon, has two sides, dark and bright, and despite the atrocious acts of darkness the child soldiers has shown, but everyone shall get another chance to change. In Ishmeal Beah’s memoir, A Long Way Gone, Ishmeal finds a way to reconcile with his community. As he has participated in the war, Beah faces the challenges of being an innocent child after being a child solider successfully with the help of UNICEF staff members. However, the reason of reconciliation is to ultimately serve to remove the walls of misunderstanding, which unduly separate human being one from another. Reconciliation between child soldiers and their community is attainable, because they haven’t shown their bright side yet.
Never given up and never losing hope, rehabilitation programs work so hard to make child soldiers reconciliation with their communities possible. Many lives were saved as a result of the child soldiers’ reconciliation “the organization removed thousands of child soldiers from the on-going conflict and re- integrate them into society” (Chatterjee). At this point, it is now the job of their communities to welcome them back after getting the help from the rehab programs to re-integrate, in opposed to that many people would need the time to forgive and forget. In addition, there would be other people who would forget the past and start a new life, by welcoming back everyone the war has harmed. Similarly to what Ishmeal has experienced in his life, the rehabilitation program made it attainable for him to get over his horrific memories, and be himself again. Feeling guilty was Ishmeal’s main problem, but the nurses and the staff at the UNICEF center would continuously tell him and all the child soldiers in there “none of these things are your fall” (Beah 160), this kind of support lightened his burdensome memories and gave him confidence. Some child soldiers would never get rid of their guilt of killing, that is why rehab programs try to remind them of their innocent childhood and how they were forced to commit violence, unfortunately when it get to society, people don’t understand that soldiers didn’t have choice but to destroy and kill. Nevertheless, reasonable confidence in child soldiers’ powers, facilitated their reconciliation, it was the key to their hearts and minds, to think about everything they have done, and give them the strength to forgive themselves. In other words, the rehab programs replaced negative thoughts with positives, and in effect they would gain positive results on child soldiers and the society in general.
Stability of the government plays a big role of making reconciliation of child soldiers with society possible. Over the years of war, peace makers tried to make an agreement to disbarment the area “to [prevent] the recurrence of violence and [create] the conditions for sustainable peace” (“DDR and Stability in Africa”). However, this agreement would be successful for several years, but after a while the conflict comes back, and children get involve in the war again. Still evidences show that child soldiers would reconcile with their communities during the peace period, because people feel more relief in a peaceful zones, and it is easier for them to trust each other, while in war nobody trust no one. In addition to that, Beah feared witnessing a war in his city again, because he knew that the help he got to reconcile would be wasted. Beah’s reconciliation was successful, but if the city would be under attack again, he won’t have any choice but to join war again, so “[he] has to try to get out, [he] thought; and if that doesn’t work, then is back to the army” (Beah 209). Nevertheless, the more we sweat in peace, the less people bleed in war, so if a community is in peace with itself, people will be in peace with each other, but if the community is attacking itself, people won’t accept each other, until they rest. Peace’s