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A Long Way Gone BC Discussion #2

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#1 Birdie07

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    Posted 21 April 2008 - 03:08 PM

    First I want to apologize. I was suppose to post these questions on Friday. However, I had a family tragedy and my Grandma passed and her funeral was Friday. Then the apartment next door burned down and we've been dealing with smoke and water problems. Then my husbands graduation was Saturday and family didn't leave till Sunday. So I'm sorry these are a bit late.

    Also if you want to PM me with a new book suggestion we can go ahead and pick the next book as well.

    I guess first tell me if you liked the book and any thoughts on it. Then if you feel like answering any of the below questions.

    1. How familiar were you with the civil wars of Sierra Leone prior to reading A Long Way Gone? How has Ishmael’s story changed your perception of this history, and of current wars in general?

    2. What universal truths does Ishmael teach us about surviving loss and hunger, and overcoming isolation?

    3. Ishmael gives credit to relief workers such as Esther, in conjunction with organizations such as UNICEF, for rescuing him. He has dedicated his life to their cause, studying political science and speaking before a broad variety of groups, ranging from the Council on Foreign Relations to the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. What steps has he inspired you to take to help end the use of child soldiers? How can each of us join Ishmael’s cause?

    Those are just a few questions to help discuss this book. This is one of my favorite books. I've read quite a few about this subject. I have a story along these lines. I joined the orginization Save Darfur. One day I was wearing the shirt and on the front it said "Save Darfur". My bosses were having some flooring delivered and I had to meet the truck. Well the trucker is having me sign stuff and he says, "Save Darfur huh." "Thats in Africa right?" I said yes. He said, "Why should I care about them, what have they done for us." I stood silent for a moment kinda in shock. Then I said you don't HAVE to do anything. But I feel as a human being I have a moral obligation to help my fellow man. You say this now about them what happens one day when YOU need help and someone says why should I help him he did nothing for me.

    We as Americans sometimes feel we are invincible. We have so much wealth and wordly things. Why shouldn't we help others. Reading this book made me realize part of that. There are others before it too. Even reading this book and telling others about it is bringing the subject up to be spoke about. Child soldiers is absolutely horrible. Our children at that age are worrying about school and crushes and their ipods or nintendos and children all over the world are worrying whether they live another day. It's truly sad.

    Ok, enough from me. How did you guys enjoy the book??

    #2 LadyCheese

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      Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:59 PM

      So sorry for your loss.

      Its been a crazy few weeks at work with a new manager so I haven't been able to get into my book when I get out of work but I'm almost done with it. About to go and read some more now. Its really opened up my eyes on whats going on in other parts of the world that I'm oblivious too...I'll be back to answer questions and read what other people thought as well. :)

      #3 katrina


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        Posted 22 April 2008 - 09:06 PM

        i read this book right when it came out because at the time i was working for starbucks and starbucks sponsored a book tour with ishmael. i love the book and meeting and talking with ishmael in person was amazing. he was so intelligent but incredibly gentle and subdued and he smiled at everything. i know he went through some issues with people questioning his credibility but i was just in awe of how someone could go through all of that terrible stuff and do all of those terrible things but he just seemed like such a nice normal guy.

        #4 Yari

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          Posted 26 April 2008 - 06:28 PM

          I finished the book last night and I was very impressed with it.

          I was shocked that these events occurred in my lifetime. I know I sound naive, but I honestly never heard about this before. It sadden me to read that children are forced to loot, kill and become savages in order to live.

          I'm glad that I am now aware of these issues and will pay better attention to the media in the future. I am not sure how I can help current children soldiers, but do know that I am no longer ignorant to this cause.

          The pivotal part of the book for me was when the village his parent's were refugees at got destroyed by the rebels. He went from a child to a man in one evening.

          I was confused as to who the real rebels were...to me it sounded like the "Army" were rebels too.

          #5 *JillD*

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            Posted 26 April 2008 - 06:41 PM

            I'm sorry girls, I was so busy this past month I never had a chance to read it. But it sounds really good, I'm still going to try and read it on my own as soon as I have a chance.

            #6 starchild



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              Posted 26 April 2008 - 06:46 PM

              Wow Calia you've had a crazy week..so sorry and no need to apoligize!

              I need to apologize because I spaced on this one, completely. I still want to read it because it looks really good. Hopefully enough of you read it so I can eavesdrop on the discussion. I'm in on the next one for sure!

              You can just keep my suggestion if you still have it and I'll pick another one after it is picked...thanks :)

              #7 becks



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                Posted 26 April 2008 - 08:26 PM

                Hi Calia - I'm sorry your week was so chaotic. And I was sorry to hear about your grandmother. Big hugs!!!

                Funny, I read the book in less than 24 hours. I really enjoyed it! It was eye opening in so many ways. I'd heard about the civil war in Sierra Leone, but like many of the foreign things that are reported on by the US media, there really wasn't much information. The book gave me a much better understanding.

                I was surprised at how detached Ishmael's writing was - it was almost purely narrative with so little emotional attachment for someone who went thru those events. I don't know if it was the effect of editing, or if that's a coping strategy that he employs. But it did strike me as peculiar somehow.

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                #8 Birdie07

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                  Posted 26 April 2008 - 09:56 PM

                  I was wondering if anyone had read the book. LOL I was about to post and say ok next book? Is anyone still in the BC?? If you guys are still here. Even though I wish there was more discussion on this book.

                  Yari, as to your question there was the RUF (the rebels) and the Army. They both employed child soldiers as to alot of "Army's" today. Both sides were saying the same things. The Army said the rebels killed your family and the RUF said the Army did. When in truth both did. So depending on what side the other side was the rebels. It gets a little more political than that you can always wiki it.

                  Becks as to your comment. There was a couple of interviews he did and he is always so smiley and friendly. I think if I was going back to write this I would seem detached too. Trying to keep that all in my head and handle it would be hard. I think thats why his writing is like that. I forget what interview which he said that sometimes he dreams and can't realize he's dreaming. If you read books on other tragedy's such as the Holocaust they write in that same way. I think it's just how they cope.

                  #9 Yari

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                    Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:25 AM

                    I totally forgot to say, I am very sorry about your grandma.

                    I read the book in a couple of hours, I really couldn't put it down.

                    Originally Posted by CaliaA07
                    The Army said the rebels killed your family and the RUF said the Army did. When in truth both did. So depending on what side the other side was the rebels.
                    That is what I thought. So sad!

                    I think if I were him, I would be detached. He went through so much, I don't think he knows how to react. It's like he only has two feelings...before the rebels and after the rebels.

                    I do wish they had a chapter about when he moved to the States. He ended at the embassy. I wanted more.

                    #10 Birdie07

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                      Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:37 AM

                      Yeah he got adopted by that author lady and he know speaks and works I believe with the UN about child soldiers.

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