A Long Way Gone By david reed

Sierra Leone

Guinea, Liberia, and the Atlantic Ocean border Sierra Leone.

The natural resource coveted by Americans and mined in Sierra Leone is diamonds.

Sierra Leone's government is a presidential republic. A presidential government is a government where a head of government is also a head of state and leads a executive branch that is different than the legislative branch. A republic is a government in which the supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, which has an elected president instead of a monarch.


RUF stands for the Revolutionary United Front.

They did many acts of cruelty, including using child soldiers and basically torturing people.

Their original goal was to overthrow the Sierra Leonean government. At first they were seen as popular among most people because they were saying they were going to make the government better. Then they started to be known for their acts of cruelty, and many people decided they didn't want to side with them.

War in Sierra Leone

The war in Sierra Leone began in 1991 when RUF started their attacks. Even though RUF started out to try to defeat corruption from the Sierra Leone government, they started using acts of terror and violence, torturing and killing innocent citizens. The newly elected president signs a peace treaty with RUF. Then, the army joins with RUF and attacks again. Several people died or were dispaced. The United Nations intervened and tried to get a treaty signed, but the attacks continued. Eventually Great Britain intervened and got troops sent in to catch RUF forces. The RUF leader was captured in 2000 and the UN finished it up by 2002, when the war is considered over.

Children were used as soldiers on the battlefield, often having control over ending a person's life. Children were forced to murder, but were also subject to rape and abuse as well.

Child Soldiers

Children are being used in wars in Liberia, Congo. Suban, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Burma. Children could be used as cooks, nurses, soldiers, laborers, and other things.

In Sudan, boys are forced to become child soldiers or laborers, while girls are forced to be sex workers, or even slaves.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, up to possibly even 30% of mining is done by children labor.
In Zimbabwe, many children work unofficially in chrome, diamond, and gold mines, or in the forestry and agricultural area, often without getting an education.

Aide and Problem Solving

There are many groups trying to stop this problem of the use of child soldiers. Some groups are trying to prevent it in the first place, take the child soldiers out of the action, and reintegrate them with their families and into their community. Others are trying to make it where countries and other groups will agree to stop using children all together. Lastly, others think that the United States should make it where the U.S. military won’t help any country or group that uses children, and that will be enough of an incentive for there to be no more children soldiers.

United Nations Position

The position that the UN took on rehabilitation and/or punishment for children who fought in wars is that children 15 or older when they committed war crimes will be under the jurisdiction of the court, although they will be granted special treatment and excluded from punishment.

About Ishmael Beah

Ishmael Bech is 36 years old.

He now is in Manhattan, New York, NY, where he lives.

The writing method that he used is that he started at the beginning and wrote down his story to the end.

He went to college at Oberlin College.

The effect that hip hop had on him through his ordeal is that he was very fascinated by hip hop and went back to listen to it many times.

The Two Videos: War and Child Soldiers

In "The War in Sierra Leone," it got to the point where the entire nation colapsed because the military that was supposed to protect the people switched to the other side. That means that everyone had to do whatever the people with the guns asked.

In "Today's Child Soldiers," not many children get to go to the United States and live with a nice family like what happened to Ishmael. Child soldiers are used all over the world, like Liberia, Rwanda, Congo, and many others.


Created with images by BigMikeSndTech - "IMG_5427"

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