Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Journal Six: Reflections on A Long Way Gone

1. A character, other than Ishmael, that had the most meaning to me was Esther. Esther was a kind woman that made a huge impact on Ishmael. When Ishmael first enter the Benin Home, he doesn't trust anyone, especially civilians. During his stay in the Benin Home, Esther was able help Ishmael open up what has been eating him alive, and that was facing the fact that none of what happened was Ishmael's fault. The connection that Esther had with Ishmael was very comforting. Ishmael was able to trust her and believe that he can be rehabilitated and that he is just a child. In chapter 20, I saw a side to Ishmael that I have wanted to see throughout the book. When talking to the ECOSOC, he writes, "I have been rehabilitated now, so don't be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore; I am a child" (199). To me, I felt this showed a side of Esther, something that she always reminded that Ishmael can be better and will be better.

2. I feel that Ishmael rehabilitation had really worked with him. I believe it is possible to do with the help of chapter 21. Everything that Ishmael had worked so hard for, by changing his ways of what he has done as a child soldier had returned to him in Freetown once again. Without fighting back and becoming a child soldier, he fought in a different route. That route led him to escaping Sierra Leone without being violent to make a better life for himself. I would strongly trust and believe that Ishmael would be safe around my neighborhood because he did a huge step by walking away from the war instead of being in it. I feel as if Ishmael is strong enough and more open by realizing he may not be able to forget his war memories, but he can make the rest of his life better and create long lasting memories of happiness. 

3. A lesson I can take away from this book is, " When times get rough, never give up". Ishmael was a fighter throughout this whole book. He was able to overcome any obstacle that came his way whether it hurt him to change. Ishmael went through people dying around him, killing others, withdrawing from drugs, and finding a way to cope with flashbacks that still haunt him today. I want to remember that no matter what life can hit you with, you must make the best of it, because your life can change as long as you make it change. A quote that I will never forget from this book would be, " We can be rehabilitated" (169). I feel as if this quote that has four words mean so much to me. Anyone can be rehabilitated, no matter what background or story you come from.

4. After reading the book, I wanted to know more about Ishmael. I wanted to know if he is trying to help those in need that were or are still involved with fighting in war as a child. I wanted to know if he was finally enjoying life and was there anything that he was doing that could influence those to be rehabilitated just like him. Doing research outside the book, I have found that Ishmael is a part of varieties of institutions that require helping with the youth. Here are the things that he is involved with today. UNICEF Ambassador and advocate for Children Affected by War, a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Advisory Committee, Advisory board member of the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, former visiting scholar at the Center for Conflict resolution, Columbia University, visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights, Rutgers University, Co-Founder of The Network for Young People Affected by War (NYPAW) and president of The Ishmael Beah Foundation. It is so nice to see Ishmael is doing everything to be a better person for himself and help those who need that boost like Esther had gave to him. 

Ishmael working hard with the UNICEF


  1. Yes, Esther had a very big impact on Ishmael. I agree he worked very hard during his rehabilitation and is safe to be in our neighborhood. I also wanted to know what Ishmael was up to after leaving Freetown.

  2. Never giving up is definitely an important lesson not only in this book but in life in general. It's still crazy to think about every single thing that he's been through.


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