22 January 2014
Memories Back Then
Sierra Leone wasn’t always a dark and scary place. The government began to change rapidly, which caused changes in all the villages. The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) made small children make grown up decisions that were harsh and gruesome. Nobody was safe. Everybody’s life began to change, as they ran in fear. RUF eventually hit Ishmael’s village, which caused him to lose his grandmother, mother, father, and younger brother. He didn’t know what to think or say. His dreams became reality and reality became a part of his dreams. “These days I live in three worlds: my dreams, and the experiences of my new life, which triggered memories from the past” (Page 20). Running away from the past won’t help as long as a person still has the memories. The government caused Ishmael to change from young, innocent boy to mindless child solider to a proper adult, but is still haunted by the memories of his past.
Ishmael was introduced to a horrifying life at a young age. Being forced to grow up by watching people suffer and die. As a young boy, Ishmael had fairly good life. His day-to-day existence was a struggle of survival, and he found himself committing acts he would never have believed himself capable of, such as stealing food from children. The government caused Ishmael to change completely. Ishmael began to question his cultural belief, because of the crimes he was committing.
Just like others, Ishmael eventually is recruited as a soldier by RUF and becomes the very thing he feared: a killing machine capable of horrible violence. After losing everybody in his family, Ishmael starts to think the army is his family. The government has brainwashed these boy soldiers by getting them addicted to cocaine, marijuana, and a drug that gave them the courage to fight and the ability to repress their emotions in times of war. RUF anticipated that some of the young boys would not be able to perform these inhuman crimes.
The villages had become terrified of their government. They had no idea when they would strike, or where they would come from. The general population ran in fear, while leaving there family members to try and survive themselves. Many children did not understand what was happening. Several children were enforced to kill their own families and friends, because