A Long Way Gone Chapters 14-15 Response
Earlier in the book I predicted that Ishmael would be captured and fighting with the rebels. However, it turns out that he is fighting against them in Sierra Leone’s army. Even though Ishmael is fighting the enemy, I don’t like what the government army does to the boys. For example, Ishmael and his friends are given a multitude of drugs to keep them awake, give them endless energy, and kill without thinking. Even thought the military only wants to rid the country of the rebels, I don’t think they should brainwash the soldiers with drugs and speeches about how murderous and twisted the rebels are. I believe the boys should have been given the chance to think for themselves before becoming soldiers.
I was a little confused when UNICEF comes and takes some of the boy soldiers away from their commanders. I think they are going to begin a rehabilitation program or something. I think it is almost a little humorous that even though they are away from their platoons, the boys from the army are still killing RUFs who have also been taken by UNICEF. It’s like they never leave the war. Not even the guards and MPs can keep them from fighting and smoking marijuana.
A passage that stands out to me is “My squad was my family, my gun was my provider and protector and my rule was to kill or be killed. The extent of my thoughts didn’t go much beyond that. We had been fighting for over two years, and killing had become a daily activity. I felt no pity for anyone” (Beah 126). This passage shows me how brainwashed these boys really are. They kill without thinking and their guns are their best friends. They don’t think of anything outside the war. I think it’s awful that these boys have been taken from their lives and forced to fight without pity or emotion. Thirteen-year-olds should not have to brutally kill every day or any day.