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A long way gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier By Ishmael Beah

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1 A long way gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier By Ishmael Beah
By Jansen Sears

2 Ishmael Beah - Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980.
- He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York. - In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science. - He has spoken before the United Nations. - He lives in New York City.

3 The Protagonist: Ishmael Beah
Naturally Ishmael Beah is the protagonist because this is a biography. This book takes us through his life growing up in Sierra Leone during a time of great conflict. Sierra Leone entered into a civil war in From then on there were constant treaties being signed and broken. Also, political upheavals. Ishmael and his friends tried to stay away from the war until it caught up with them and they became involved in it. Ishmael had two parents and an older brother. His passion was rap music, especially Run DMC.

4 The Antagonist: The rebels & himself
The antagonists at first are the rebels who bring horror and death to civilians for reasons Ishmael can never discern. Later, the antagonist becomes Ishmael himself when he very nearly cannot find the strength within himself to recover from begin a bloodthirsty soldier to a child once more.

5 Favorite Character: Ishmael Beah
Choosing my favorite character was pretty easy since the book is centered around Ishmael and his experiences. I like him because I can relate to him. He was just a teenager like me when the conflict reached him and forced him to join the army and fight. Also, I like him because in the book he talks about his love of hip hop and rap which I can relate to.

6 Least favorite character: Lieutenant Jabati
My least favorite character is Lieutenant Jabati. Ishmael was an innocent boy until he was under the command of Mr. Jabati. Ishmael was 15 years old when he was trained to use an ak-47. At night with his fellow soldier he would smoke marijuana, sniff brown brown (Cocaine and Gunpowder), and watch war movies. He turned Ishmael into a cold blooded killer.

7 Exposition Ishmael and his family had not yet been affected by the civil war. His first experience with war is when refugees wander into town. Conflict had driven them out of their villages. Ishmael, his brother Junior, and their friend Talloi leave for a talent show in the nearby village of Mattru Jong. While away, Ishmael’s hometown of Mogbwembo had been attacked by the rebels and school was cancelled indefinitely.

8 Exposition (Cont.) Ishmael and his buddies decide to go back to Mogbwembo to try to find their families. On the way they encounter his Grandmother’s village. The rebels had clearly been there because it was deserted. While resting in the village a van pulls up and all the boys jump into hiding places. They watch a man get out of the van and vomit. The van had two dead girls and a boy in the back. All three bodies were mutilated and their blood covered the whole interior of the car. The rebels had slaughtered them in front of the children’s father. He brought the bodies back to give them a proper burial.

9 Rising Action Ishmael and his friends stay in Mattru Jong for a while to wait for news of their families. Word reaches the village that the rebel soldiers were on the way. The rebel soldiers wanted a welcome from the village. They sent ahead a boy who had been branded with the letters RUF (Revolutionary United Front) and had all but his thumbs amputated. Once the rebels arrived all hell broke loose. Everyone ran for their lives leaving loved ones to save themselves. Ishmael and his friends ran while people were getting mowed down by AK-47’s and RPG’s. Ishmael comments that this is the first of many encounters like this. He says they never stop, they must never be caught because that is certain death. About a week later they are starving and in need of substantial food. They decide they must return to Mattru Jong to get the money Ishmael left behind. Ishmael and the others barely escape in a flurry of gunfire.

10 Exposition The book begins with Ishmael attending high school. He’s talking to his buddies. They ask him about his homeland and his past there. They think its cool that he was in the country when the war was happening. He laughs and says that he will tell them about it another time, they have no idea.

11 Climax The climax of the story is when he is involved in the civil war. He becomes a skilled shooter and becomes a cold blooded killer He’s not himself anymore. He’s turned into a killing machine

12 Falling Action The falling action starts when the U.N. van shows up at his army base. The people in the car have come to take away him and all the other young boys for their own protection. He fights this as hard as he can until he arrives at the holding facility for all the boys. As he finally becomes human again the story winds down.

13 Resolution The story resolves itself when Ishmael arrives in New York City to give his speech. When he finally gets back to normal life and schooling the rebels over-throw the government and chaos erupts. He then moves to the U.S. and goes to college and goes on to be a motivational speaker on issues he has seen first hand.

14 Setting Sierra Leone Mattru Jong, Mobgwembo, all over Sierra Leone, and the correctional facility. New York City Civil war from 1991 to 1999 The U.N. intervenes in 1999 until 2004 In 2004 the war crime trials begin

15 Themes: A Long Way Gone War is Hell – This book illustrates how terrible war is explicitly. There is always hope – Ishmael shows how optimistic he is and gives us all hope. When everything else is gone, there is always love – Throughout the book he finds someone to get through his trials with, especially his family. I belive this book is a 10. This is probably the best book I’ve ever read. Its very easy to get hooked into and it’s a definite page turner. Ishmael is also a loveable character.

16 My Social Issue: Children Soldiers
The use of children as soldiers has been universally condemned as abhorrent and unacceptable. Over the last ten years hundreds of thousands of children have fought and died in conflicts around the world. Children involved in armed conflict are frequently killed or injured during combat or while carrying out other tasks. They are forced to engage in hazardous activities such as laying mines or explosives, as well as using weapons. Child soldiers are usually forced to live under harsh conditions with insufficient food and little or no access to healthcare. They are almost always treated brutally, subjected to beatings and humiliating treatment. Punishments for mistakes or desertion are often very severe. Girl soldiers are particularly at risk of rape, sexual harassment and abuse as well as being involved in combat and other tasks.

17 My song: Little Weapon – Lupe Fiasco

18 Video

19 Why you should care: Thousands of children across the world participate in dangerous war activities. Children die every day fighting in wars. They aren’t getting the help they need to get out of armed conflict.

20 What you can do: A good way to help out is through the Coalition to stop the use of Child Soldiers. (

21 Child Soldiers around the world
Colombia (P,O) Mexico (P,O) Peru (O) Russian Federation (O) Turkey (O) Yugoslavia (former Rep. of) (P,O) Algeria (P,O) Angola (G,O) Burundi (G,O) Chad (G) Republic of Congo (G,O) Dem. Rep. of the Congo (G,O) Eritrea (G) Ethiopia (G) Rwanda (G,O) Sierra Leone (G,P,O) Somalia (all groups) Sudan (G,P,O) Uganda (G,O) Iran (G,O) Iraq (G,O) Israel and Occupied Territories (G,O) Lebanon (O) Afghanistan (all groups) India (P,O) Indonesia (P,O) Myanmar (G,O) Nepal (O) Pakistan (O) Philippines (O) Solomon Islands (O) Sri Lanka (O) East Timor (P,O) Tajikistan (O) Papua New Guinea (O) Uzbekistan (O) G= Government Armed Forces P= Paramilitaries O= Armed Opposition Groups

22 Uses of Children during Wartime
Soldiers Porters Spies Messengers Lookouts Sexual Slaves Human Shields Propaganda

23 Poem: Children At War Little girl, hidden in the bush,
Why aren’t you with your mother today? Little boy, so far from home, Who put that gun in your hand? Child soldiers, what do you understand Of rebels’ causes and governments, Broken cease-fires and armaments? You only know you are a slave For sex, or killing, or running away. You are here to fight and die For adults who never tell you why As they steal your childhood away. Your uniform should be some school’s; You should sleep safe in a fresh, clean bed, No horrors to torment or numb you, As Mother’s song sings in your head. Oh, children! May you find a home, Where you remember how to play! May you recall times before it all Came undone on an evil day When soldiers carried you away.    Dr. Carole R. Fontaine

24 The Geneva Convention “The Parties to the conflict shall take all feasible measures in order that children who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities and, in particular, they shall refrain from recruiting them into their armed forces. In recruiting among those persons who have attained the age of fifteen years but who have not attained the age of eighteen years, the Parties to the conflict shall Endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest.”

25 The Lubanga Trial This is the trial of Thomas Lubanga, former rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo. (DRC) Rebels under his command have been accused of massive human rights violations, including ethnic massacres, murder, torture, rape, mutilation, and forcibly conscripting child soldiers. On 17 March 2006, Lubanga became the first person ever arrested under a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court. His trial, for the war crime of "conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities", began on 26 January 2009. This trial is going on right now.


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