Manipulation Of Child Soldiers In A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah

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In A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Beah tells of his past in Sierra Leone as a boy soldier. As a child in the war, Beah and his fellow soldiers committed many acts of violence, including murder. This raises the question as to whether or not child soldiers should be held accountable for their actions. The answer to this question is no, they should not be, because as children, they are easier to manipulate, and their minds have become addled by much exposure to drug use and sleep deprivation. After becoming a soldier, Beah describes how his lieutenant would attempt to subtly manipulate him and his fellow soldiers into following orders without a second thought. Beah writes,“Over and over in our training he would say that same sentence: Visualize the enemy, the rebels who killed your parents, your family, and those who are responsible for everything that has happened to you” (Beah 112). This manipulation is what pushed Beah to commit murders and become violent in nature. On the topic of manipulation of child soldiers, Enrique Restoy of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child…show more content…
As Beah is writing of all the drugs he’s routinely taking, he includes, “But after several doses of these drugs, all I felt was numbness to everything and so much energy that I couldn’t sleep for weeks” (121). Beah could not sleep for weeks. Lack of sleep is incredibly unhealthy for both the human body and mind. In an article regarding the effects of sleep deprivation, the author wrote, “Sleep deprivation can actually cause other symptoms that mimic mental illness, such as disorientation and paranoid thoughts” (Peters). It is important to consider the extreme lack of sleep Beah experienced, because the symptoms caused by it--in addition to the symptoms he was likely dealing with due to drug abuse, and the manipulation that was used on him--all add up to a very troubled child; a
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