Not There Any More

Little bro
Why do you have to go?
I know you are in pain and are suffering
But I just can’t let go
It kills me to see you this way
When I know its not the real you
And I know you would be happier if I say goodbye
But I just can’t
You’re my little Bro
The one who would always bring a smile to my face
And I know this truly isn’t goodbye
But I don’t know when I’ll see you again
But you’ll be with Big Bro, Maxy and my little baby Cookie Dough
But I’m going to cry
Because I love you so
But if you love something it’s best to let it go
So with this goodbye
I hope you are in no pain
And forever continue to smile
And look down on my with your big happy eyes
As my life flys by
Someday we’ll met again
With lots of other friends
But its still kills me to see you go
And know that when I come over
You won’t be there to say hello
Just a silent hello

One more time

Oh God where do I start?
Why oh why?
Do you have to go?
Is it trul your time?
Is he calling you home?
Can’t you stay a little longer?
Can’t you play with me on emore time?
Can’t there be one more sleep over with you laying your head on my lap all night long?
Why now?
Didn’t your life just start?
You’re only 15?
I guess I will never see the real you?
I only see the old you?
Your smiling, happy, excited self?
One more run to the park
One more contest of speed?
One time please one more, a little more time
Before I have to say goodbye

This is for my Aunt's dog, Cody, who was like a little brother to me that was recently put down.

Those Who Influence Us

When people fall into darkness; the journey back into the light is hard, brutal and unforgiving. People will behave differently towards you as if you will never change, or they’ll never be able to trust you again. Those that you thought were your friends were really the enemy and will stab you in the back while others may try to take you back to the darkness. Some people may feel as if the darkness was kinder to them then the light. But hope is not lost; your true friends will always be there for you. If they are truly your friend they will be there for you through thick and thin. They will influence you to keep on making the journey back to the light. In the book A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Ishmael was influenced by his friends who had also been soldiers, Esther and his uncle.
There were so many people that influenced Ishmael’s live, whether they was for good or for bad. However three people influenced and guided Ishmael back to the journey to goodness the most. With them they brought events that brought back a piece of his family, gaining new friends, finding old friends, finding a place to call home and once again finding his heart. These events and people started the slow but sure change in Ishmael that turned him from a cold blooded killer back to the happy, energetic boy he used to be.
The first people that nourished the change in Ishmael were his friends. His friends were his pillars of safety. With his friends at his side, Ishmael knew he was safe. They supported each other through the rehabilitation, even if it made them mad at first to be just “kids” again. Slowly but surely they started to act like true kids again together, “’She likes you,’ Alhaji teased me. I didn’t say a thing. ‘Well, do you like her?’ he asked. ‘I don’t know. She is older and she is our nurse,’ I said. ‘You mean you are afraid of women,’ Alhaji replied, nodding,” (Beah 152). Even a small tease like that can mean the world when it come to child soldiers; soldiers who never felt any feelings for anyone. This tease show emotion, a child like emotion.
The second person the influenced Ishmael’s journey back to the light was Esther. Esther was Ishmael nurse and later become his pillar of support. She brought back his hopes, dreams and heart when she reintroduced him to rap music, “She threw a package at me. I held it in my hand, wondering what it was and why she had gotten it for me. She was looking at me, waiting for me to open it. When I unwrapped it, I jumped up and hugged her, but immediately held back my happiness………Taking the package from me, putting the battery and cassette in the Walkman and handing it to me. I put the headphone on and there was Run-D.M.C.,” (Beah 154). When Ishmael joined the army, they burned his cassettes; the ever things that represented who he was. But Esther give him back his being and soon gained his trust. With his heart back Ishmael could feel again and therefore trust again. He was also to understand that what he did as a soldier was not his fault.
The third person that influenced Ishmael’s journey was his uncle. After so long of wanting a family; people to be there for him always Ishmael was finally able to have a piece of his family back. Ishmael’s uncle became his pillar of love and with him he brought a sense of home and belonging. He also brought an end to Ishmael’s journey into the light for now he had to place to live, “After you are done here, you can come and live with me. You are my son,” (Beah 172). A place to live meant that he would never be left to be a soldier again. He had a place where he need to be and that was the thing that final brought the end of his journey.
So many people can influence one live, but only a few can really change it. Those people become the pillars that you need to survive. For they are the ones that keep them in the light and away from the dark.

The Climb Back To Normalcy

When someone becomes a child soldier, they no longer care for others. They have no feelings because when they did they were hurt, a lot. So for someone to come out of that state unchanged does not happen; they might be able to move on but they will be changed. The longer they stay in that state the harder it is to help them. So for Ishmael; a 15 year old boy who lived as a child soldier for 2 years, it’s going to be tough. But there is hope; for every moment where he seems like a child there is hope. Ever smile, every time he laughed that pain and horror that he went through is pushed back. Because it is the past and the past is the past and there is nothing you can do about it.
The first sign of the heart of a child in Ishmael was when he smiled, “ I smiled, because I was thinking the same thing….’You have a great smile, you should smile more,’” (Beah 153). A soldier does not smile, a child does. And that’s what Ishmael is a child in a body that has been treated like a man’s for two years. His heart may not see it but his soul does, he is no longer in danger therefore he does not need to be a man. He needs to be the child that was pushed aside in order to survive.
The second sign was that he was ticklish, “Esther sat between Alhaji and me in the backseat. She tickled us and sometimes put her arms around us,” (Beah 161). What child doesn’t like to be tickled? And if a child is tickled, laughter soon follows. Not only does Ishmael show his child side in the quote but he also shows that he can trust people enough to touch him. A soldier does not give or receive hugs, no they cold hearted. But a child loves hugs, whether it is receiving or giving.
The third sign was his love to listen to stories, “He loved telling me the history of Rastafarianism. I loved the history of Ethiopia and the story of the meeting of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. I related to the long distance they traveled and their determination to reach their chosen destination. I wished that my journey had been as meaningful and as full of merriment as theirs,” (Beah 163 – 164). Children are full of imagination, so it’s clear to see why Ishmael loved stories. Not only did he have his own to tell, yes they may not be as nice but they are still his, but he compared his to other fairy tales. Not horror stories, no he loved fairy tales just like every other child.

The Fall

Some people have lived the best of lives - they’ve never had to worry where they’re going to sleep, what they’re going to eat or they have never had to wonder if there really is good in this world. Instead, they live in warm secure homes with their family and friends. But some people only dream of that kind of life, some were born into the darkness and were never able to find their way out. Some were born in the light but fall into the darkness and never returned to the light. This falling does not happen right away - it takes time. It also takes horror, despair and insecurity for someone, no matter how pure or caring heart they may have, to fall into the depths of darkness. In the book A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Ishmael’s moment of falling is when he witnessed his friends dying in battle.
There were more than dozen events that changed Ishmael, but three of them lead him down the path that few have returned completely unscratched. Events like losing his family, friends, home and heart. These losses are a lot of change to go through at one time for a 12 year old boy. Those life changing events started the slow change in Ishmael that turned him from a happy, energetic 12 year old boy to a cold blooded killer.
The first event that triggered the change of Ishmael’s entire being was the loss of his brother Junior. Junior was the only piece of his family that he knew was still alive, “It was during that attack in the village of Kamator that my friends and I separated. It was the last time I saw Junior, my older brother,” (Beah 43). Without Junior there to support Ishmael, the feelings of sadness and despair that was being held back let lose. Ishmael didn’t know where he would go or how he would survive, especially when all he’s ever known and loved was gone. Ishmael had become used to have Junior there with him, but then in one moment Junior was gone. The only piece of his family he had left was gone and he was most likely never to see again. Again a lot of change happened to Ishmael, one minute he has his brother and his friends and the next they are gone from his life.
The second event that lead Ishmael down the wrong path was the death of his friend Saidu. Saidu’s death was yet another huge change for Ishmael because he had final found a group of people that he knows and were around his age to travel with when tragedy strikes again. Saidu had become like family to Ishmael and all the others in their traveling group. It was also another loss for Ishmael to bear. The loss of his real family and now a loss in his new family in a short amount of time is not something one gets over quickly. But the events had already taken their toll, “Kanei began to cry on the man’s shoulder. It was then that we admitted that Saidu had left us. Everyone else was crying, but I couldn’t cry. I felt dizzy and my eyes watered. My hands began shaking again. I felt the warmth inside my stomach, and my heart was heart was beating slowly but at a heavy rate,” (Beah 85). His body wants to react and show his sadness but all the change that has happened has harden his heart. So his reactions are lessened, soon it’ll be to the point where a loss like this won’t affect him.
The third and final event that changed Ishmael was when he was so close to seeing his family but came a few minutes to late. In these few minutes that Ishmael’s group had spent talking to Gasemu Ishmael’s chance was lost, “If we hadn’t stopped to rest on the hill, if we hadn’t run into Gasemu, I would have seen my family, I thought. My head was burning as if it was on fire. I put my hands on both ears and squeezed in vain. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I got up, walked behind Gasemu, and locked his neck under my arms. I squeezed him as hard as I could, ‘I can’t breathe,’ he said, fighting back. He pushed me off and I fell next to a pestle. I picked it up and hit Gasemu with it. He fell and when he got up his nose was bleeding. My friends held me back. Gasemu looked at me and said sadly ‘I didn’t know this would happen,” (Beah 95 – 96). Ishmael might not have known what was happening to him but it’s clear to see that his path has been set. His heart is now full of darkness, he is blaming others and acts violently because of that blame. His childhood is no longer; he is a man, full of despair, in a child’s body. That despair will continue to eat him from the inside out until that final moment where he falls. In order to fall into the darkness one must go through tremendous amount of change, sadness, terror, and uncertainty.
The final moment where Ishmael falls is when he watched his friend, Josiah, die and then saw his friend’s Musa died body. Musa was known in Ishmael’s group of friends as the “story teller,” the one who always put a smile on others faces. Josiah was a tent-mate of Ishmael. He looked up to Ishmael more than he looked up to the corporal. Ishmael treated him and Sheku, their other tent-mate, like they were his little brothers because compared to him they were small, “Josiah and Sheku dragged the tip of their guns, as they weren’t strong enough to carry them and the guns were taller than them,” (Beah 116). Ishmael had been leaning the edge of a cliff, and in that moment Ishmael fell and fell hard, “I crawled to Josiah and looked into his eyes. There were tears in them and his lips were shaking, but he could not speak. As I watched him, the water in his eyes were replaced with blood that quickly turned his brown eyes into red. He reached for my shoulder as if he wanted to hold it and pull himself up. But midway, he stopped moving. The gunshots faded in my head, and it was as if my heart had stopped and the whole world had come to a standstill…….As I looked to where he lay, my eyes caught Musa, whose head was covered with blood. His hands looked too related….. My face, my hands, my shirt, and gun were covered in blood. I raised my gun and pulled the trigger, and I killed a man….. Every time I stopped shooting to change magazines and saw my two young lifeless friends, I angrily pointed my gun into the swamp and killed my people. I shot everyone that moved, until we were ordered to retreat because we needed another strategy,” (Beah 118 – 119). In that moment; all of his loses, all the pain and horror that Ishmael had seen or felt were forgotten. They were forgotten because he no longer cared. He was no longer a child; he was now a child soldier.

Growing Up Too Fast

Ishmeal Beah is a man in a child’s body but is still a child at heart. Ishmeal have unfortunately have had to go through horrors that many people have never experienced and probably never will. These horrors made the decision for him and whether or not he was going to grow up to fast. “After all the trouble and risk we undertook to get the money, it became useless. We would have been less hungry if we had stayed at the village instead of walking the miles to Mattru Jong and back. I wanted to blame someone for this particular predicament, but there was no one to be blamed. We had made a logical decision and it had come to this. It was a typical aspect of being in the war. Things changed rapidly in a matter of seconds and no one had any control over anything. We had yet to learn these things and implement survival tactics, which was what it came down to, (Beah 29)” A child would have come up with a million different people or things to blame this predicament on. But Ishmeal, at the age of twelve, realized something that some people don’t realize until it’s almost too late, that sometime there is no to blame but yourself. He also realized that war it’s just sticks and stones as some people think it is. It is a forever changing thing that no one can predict a single thing about. However Ishmeal still contains the heart of a child, because everyone has it somewhere deep inside them, it’s just buried away; like Ishmeal’s. He still wants to be a child; he wants to blame someone for his life being changed beyond recognition. Just like a child would, he wants everything to go back to the way it was and that he can still believe that the war will never affect his life. But it can’

Brutally Honest

It is necessary for the author to be brutally honest when describing the violence in his book. Without such detailed descriptions of the violence that the author experienced you would not and could not fully understand what it was like to live through this war. For example in the book a long way gone the author, Ishmael Beah, describes deaths that he himself witnessed when he was a young boy. The depth that he uses not only shows us on the page but also in our imaginations as well. “The last casualty that we saw that evening was a woman who carried her baby on her back. Blood was running down her dress and dripping behind her, making a trail. Her child had been shot dead as she ran for her life. Luckily for her the bullet didn’t go through the baby’s body. When she stopped at where we stood, she sat on the ground and removed her child. It was a girl, and her eyes were still open, with an interrupted innocent smile on her, (page 13)”The depth of the words makes them experiences and not just words on a piece of paper.

A Wierd Way to to Describe the Feeling of War

In the book “A Long Way Gone” Ishmael Beah continues to switch from a happy narrative to a horrible narrative throughout his book to mirror the idea that happiness is so fragile – that it can be gone in the blink of an eye. First he could be narrating a happy time like when his mother, his older brother Junior, and himself were walking to his little brother school when he thought “My mother seemed lost in her thoughts, smiling as she relived the moments” (Beah 11). Then within the next page or two Beah narrates a bad time, like the horrible casualties that he witnessed when he was just a little boy, “The last casualty that we saw that evening was a woman who carried her baby on her back. Blood was running down her dress and dripping behind her, making a trail. Her child had been shot dead as she ran for her life. Luckily for her the bullet didn’t go through the baby’s body. When she stopped at where we stood, she sat on the ground and removed her child. It was a girl, and her eyes were still open, with an interrupted innocent smile on her,” (Beah 13). War is not something that someone can control, one moment everything can be just prefect and the next could be a nightmare coming true. It continues to change whether it’s for the betterment of the people or for the betterment of the rebels. Beah is showing this through his organization, through his narratives the readers can know the experience of war and the ever changing ways of war. That in its self allows them to enjoy and understand his book. Thus making them more aware of the war in his homeland.

Tittering on the Edge of Heaven and Hell

Elie’s most intense inner conflict is his faith. At the beginning of the book he had this undying faith to God. He wanted to farther his studies in Kabbalah by getting a master. However as time passed, along with horrible events, he began to questioned his faith, his God. Where is he? Why is he letting so horrible happen to his people? And of all the people in the world why his? Elie even started to spite God, but even as he was doing so a void opened up inside of him. He still wants to believe but at the same time he can’t. His heart needs someone to be his support, to tell him everything will be ok and that he’ll always have someone there for him even when he is with his father. He is tittering on the edge of cliff that if he falls could lead to his death. Just as Akiba Drumer did when he let his faith leave his grasp, “As soon as he felt the first chinks in his faith, he lost all incentive to fight and opened the door to death,” (Wiesel 77). The question now is will Elie fall or will he find his footing on the ladder of faith?

We are Animals

In life you need guidance, whether it’s your parents, your friends or events that change you; for the good or for bad. But few people think that your instincts guide you as well. Some call them your conscious or your gut that usually tells you something is wrong. Your instincts are what truly guides you through life. They are supposed to lead you down the path of goodness and not down the road to darkness. However sometimes, when in great danger, they stray you way from that path of right and down a path that you later on wish you had never chosen. The need and the want to survive can let evil seep into your soul and lead you down the road of no return. We, human, are animals and although we don’t act like it; we too have instincts that lay deep inside of us that makes us animals. They sleep until the time has come for them to be wakened. In the book “A Long Way Gone,” by Ishmael Beah, Ishmael’s instincts awakes and leads him down a path that, if he were in his human mind, would have disgusted him. But he wasn’t in his human mind, he was in his animal mind, and that mind decided to become a child soldier so that he would have a chance to survive. Ishmael, the human, didn’t want to join in the army, no he wanted to leave the war and find his family, but he has no choice. He was backed into a corner and the human him could see a way out. And although he wanted to listen to his heart, he can’t for his instincts to survive had woken; “It is better to stay here for now.’ He signed. We had no choice. Leaving the village was as good as being dead,” (Beah 107). ‘No choice meaning no escaping death,’ that it what our human mind would think but our instincts think ‘There is a way, there is safety in numbers. The path to survive is to join;’ to join the war, to fight, to cut others lives short when the reason is not clear. This is decision is what makes us afraid of our instincts. The thought that we would leave our humanity behind and kill another human, makes us sick. And though that do think that they are not a human but a sick, twisted animal; when it is really is just nature. Elie Wiesel, author of “Night,” also lived through a time of great terror and a time of many human leaving humanity. He lived through the Holocaust, and just as Ishmael’s instincts awoke so did Elie’s. However Elie was able to fight them off, while Ishmael wasn’t for he was still a child and therefore unaware of what was happening to him. For Elie, he not only saw his instincts being awoken; he saw other waking up too. Like Rabbi Eliahu’s son, who instincts told him to leave his father behind for he was letting his chance of surviving slip away. Unfortunately later on Elie’s instincts were telling him to do the same; “I gave him what was left of my soup. But my heart was heavy. I was aware that I was doing it grudgingly,” (Wiesel 107). Fortunately for Elie god did not let him make that choice of whether or not to end his father’s life, the SS officers made it for him. This is nature, this is real life. No technology, no cities, no towns but pure nature. And in nature you live by eat or be eaten rule, or the be the hunter or be hunted standards. Sometimes your instinct to survive isn’t the only one that has awoken or could have already been there. Sometime other instincts get in the way of the one that tells you to survive and you lose the game of life because of it. Elie watched as a son killed his own father for a piece of bread, that his father had fought for just for him. The father’s parent instincts were still there, telling him to watch and care for his son, but his son’s instincts were to get food even if it meant killing someone and that someone was his father. In the end both of them lost their life for their instinct of danger yield to their other instincts, “Meir, my little Meir! Don’t’ you recognize me …..You’re killing your father…..I have bread….for you too….for you too.’….. The old man mumbled something, groaned and died. Nobody cared. His son searched him, took the crust of bread and began to devour it. He didn’t get far. Two men had been watching him. They jumped him. Others joined. When they withdrew there were two dead bodies next to me; the father and the son,” (Wiesel 101 - 102). The father instinct to care for his son overpowered his instinct to survive and to watch for danger; he never thought that it would his own son that would carry that angel of death upon him. In turn the son’s instinct to eat left his neck open for an attack; never let the instinct to eat overpower the instinct to check for danger. For then you automatically lose. We, humans, think we are so superior to other beings; that we would never lower ourselves to a level below that of ours. That we would never have to make life or death choices whether for ourselves or for another, that situations of great despair will never happen to us or that we won’t be force to abandon our humanity and join our animal brethren once again but we are wrong. Though we have hands, walk on two feet and can talk many different languages; while our animal brethren have paws, walk on four legs and can’t even speak words. But they are above us, for they use their instincts every day and in turn don’t fear them. While we fear and have disgust for those of us human who use our instincts; those some instincts that were given to us by god to guide us through life. Some may think god is insane then, but he is not. It is us who is insane, we who are disgusted with something that is a part of us and will always be a part of us.

A Child Who Lost It All

Why didn’t you take him back? Just because he was something he shouldn’t have been It’s not his fault It’s his higher ups It makes me really sad To know that he went back To where he used to be To the way he used to be The bad place The bad way And not taken back in To where he should have been The whole time Safe and sound in your arms You had a second chance to have him back After losing track of him But you stabbed him in the back Just because he was something he shouldn’t have been How do you think he felt When his hope was shut out Maybe he wanted to start over He worked hard to come back To where he is supposed to be But you showed that you don’t care And put him back to where it all started The path of death and horror Back to being A child soldier I wrote this in memory of Mambu, a child soldier in the Sierra Leone war who was rejected by his family even after he was rehabilitated. He was a friend of Ishmael Beah, the author of A Long Way Gone. It’s a must read.

Don't you get that

Death is permanent Don’t you get that? If you do Then why? Why push me Towards it? Ignoring me Pushing me away Punching and kicking Calling me names That hurts so much Acting like you care Only to dump me at a fair Death is the end So why do you want me to end If you don’t then stop Because you’re making My life end short But you don’t realize Until the deed is done Death is permanent Don’t you get that? I have written this in the point of view of a person who is suicidal, so that you get a taste of what it feels like to them