A Long Way Gone By: seth cook

Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea, Liberia, and the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone's #1 resource is diamonds. Sierra Leone is a presidential republic, which means the head of government is also the head of the state and leads an executive branch.

Sierra Leone on a map

The RUF was a rebel army that fought the 11 year war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002. It ended up being a failed political party until 2007. There goal was to take over the Sierra Leone government.

The civil war in Sierra Leone had many causes. The main cause however is the best diamond reserves in the world were in Sierra Leone. The RUF and the Sierra Leone constantly fought over them. Child soldiers were commonly used by both sides. Children as young as 7 would be captured and be forced to act as soldiers, spies, sex slaves, or human shields.

Other countries that use child soldiers include Burundi, the D.R.C, and Chad. In Burundi, around 2004 children between 10 and 16 fought in a Hutu military. In the D.R.C, there are children serving in the military as well as the countless rebel militias. Lastly in Chad, children are fighting in the Chadian military.

Burundi Child soldiers with their guns
Armed child soldiers in the D.R.C
Chad soldiers holding guns while smoking

The main group trying to stop the use of children for such things is the United Nations. The first law they set against this is the convention on the rights of a child which states no child under 15 should take part in hostilities. Next, they made the International Humanitarian Law which says they shall refrain from recruiting children younger than 15 into the military. Lastly, they made the International Labor law which says that recruiting kids under 18 to the military is considered slavery.

The United Nations has taken part in trying to stop children in armed conflict. They had a council in 2008 and it was the main focus. In 2011 they pledged to take it even more seriously.

Ishmael is 12 at the beginning of A Long Way Gone but is 36 as of now. He currently lives in New York. He attended Oberlin College. His writing style is a very complex third person.Music had a big influence on Ishmael's life. When he still lived with his family he would walk around singing and using American slang words. Also, while in rehab it helped ease his mind and connect him with his pass and helped him open up.

There were various videos that helped me learn about Ishmael.

In both of these videos Ishmael goes more in depth about his experiences.


Created with images by The U.S. Army - "060807-F-1644L-033"

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