There was much cheering and clapping. The Beggar King bowed, leapt from the wall and was gone. We followed the manager into the airport. An hour later a plane landed. We boarded it and left, some for ever.
With the publication of her latest work of fiction, 'The Memory of Love', based in Sierra Leone and dramatising the nation's fractured sensibilities in the aftermath of the civil war, she wants to clear up a few enduring errors. – from “Wartime Love and Betrayals: Aminatta Forna’s New Novel Casts a Fresh Light on Old War Wounds,” by Arifa Akbar, The Independent
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)
Before civil war broke out, Ishmael Beah lived contentedly with his family in a small village in Sierra Leone. But when the war reached them in 1993 his mother, father, and two brothers were killed, while he, at age twelve, was recruited as a child soldier. In A Long Way Gone Beah tells his troubling and inspiring story in the hope that readers will not only learn the tragic history of Sierra Leone’s civil war (1991-2002), but will learn to be vigilant in efforts to end the use of child soldiers worldwide. A Long Way Gone is a must read
New York City, 1998
My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.
‘Why did you leave Sierra Leone?’
‘Because there is a war.’
‘Did you witness some of the fighting?’
‘Everyone in the country did.’
‘You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?’
‘Yes, all the time.’
I smile a little.
‘You should tell us about it sometime.’
‘Yes, sometime.’ -- from A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah
“’I chose not to name it when I wrote the novel because I simply wanted people to enter the stories and not overlay upon them what they thought they knew about Sierra Leone’ — that is, a war-torn country of summary executions, amputees and child soldiers.” – from NPR Website
"’It was madness,’ he says. ‘The war started because of a plague of (government) corruption but at some point it just became a war of survival.’" – from “Once a Drugged Child Soldier, Beah Reclaims His Soul,” by Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
“Forna's memoir [The Devil that Danced on the Water] about Sierra Leone was written, she says, ‘because I wanted to find out who killed my father’. Mohamed Sorie Forna was a scholarship boy from a provincial village who trained as a doctor in Scotland and later became a finance minister in Siaka Steven's government. He was taken from their home under armed guard one night in Freetown when Aminatta was aged 10. She never saw him again.” – from “Aminatta Forna : ‘We Don’t Commit Suicide – We Kill,” by Julie Wheelwright, The Independent