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Sierra Leone and A Long Way Gone

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on 7 September 2017

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Transcript of Sierra Leone and A Long Way Gone

Sierra Leone
Small country in West Africa
Colonized by Britain in 1787--established Freetown as the capital
Gained independence in 1961
About Sierra Leone
Predominantly Muslim with a Christian minority
Its economy has traditionally relied on mining diamonds
Civil War
Suffered from government corruption and economic problems for decades
Eventually led to the Sierra Leone Civil War, which lasted from 1991-2002
Over 50,000 people died
Over two million people fled the country as refugees

Child Soldiers
The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) conscripted many children
As much as 80 percent of the army was between the ages of 7 and 14
The government's army also began recruiting children, involving as many as 10,000 adolescents
The armies often used alcohol and drugs to control the children
Children were forced to commit horrible atrocities

A Long Way Gone
Story of Ishmael Beah, who grew up in Sierra Leone in the 1990s
Age 12 when the story begins
Interested in memorizing Shakespeare and dancing to hip-hop videos
Return to Normality
The United Nations pulled Ishmael from the army and placed him in a rehabilitation center
The rest of the book shows how he slowly overcame his hatred and anger
Later spoke for the U.N. in New York City and eventually moved there when fighting reached Freetown
Sierra Leone and
A Long Way Gone

Ishmael Beah
Rebel forces attacked his village, causing him to flee
For three years, he was forced to fight for the government army against the rebels
First part of memoir shows how easy it is for a normal boy to be transformed into almost a monster
Full transcript