A long way gone

New York City, 1998

My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.
“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”
“Because there is a war.”
“Did you witness some of the fighting?”
“Everyone in the country did.”
“You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?”
“Yes, all the time.”
I smile a little.
“You should tell us about it sometime.”
“Yes, sometime.” *

Ishmeal Beah and I are the exact same age.

This is where our similarities begin and end. In 1993, while I was likely frolicking carelessly somewhere in the prairie fields of rural Alberta, Beah was fleeing from the attacking rebels in Sierra Leone. Abruptly ending his own carefree childhood and beginning his new life as a soldier. Thrust into a war he did not choose.

His book A Long Way Gone should be essential reading for children and adults everywhere. Especially those adults in positions of government, who make decisions that affect the lives of children everywhere, every day.

Beah is a rarity indeed; an African relaying an African story.

His ability to describe even the worst kind of horrors colored with his soft poetic voice is a testament to the triumph of light over darkness- good despite atrocious evils.


*excerpt from 'a long way gone'

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