Road to Faraway: The Memoirs of A Child Soldier

Title of the Study: Road to Faraway: The Memoirs of A Child Soldier

Type of the Study: Book

Author of the Study: Ishmael Beah



Year/Place of Publication: March 2008, Ankara

Language of the Study: Turkish

Number of Pages: 253

Purpose: To reveal a real life story of a child soldier. It is not that difficult to turn an ordinary child into a killing machine.


Content: The book has 21 chapters. The childhood of Ismael Beah that passed in Sierra Leone, West Africa is narrated. Ishmael Beah, an ordinary child lives with his family. Like his coevals worldwide; he listens music, play football, attends school and spends time with his friends. Sierra Leone has one of world’s richest diamond reserves. RUF(Revolutionary United Front), an insurgent rebellion armed group fighting against the government that is backed by Liberia, controls the diamond rich areas and kills innocent people in villages. Child soldiers once kidnapped are used to kill these people. Ishmael Beah’s village is also raided by RUF gerillas and his family got lost. Ishmael ran out with his friends in hope of finding his family. In every single village they reach, they faced hostile people with fear as they were also resembled of as child soldiers. In one of these villages they approaches they came across with governmnet official soldiers fighting against RUF.

These children want to take revench from RUF whom they thought of as the murderers of their families. At last they are child soldiers as well. They became addicted to brown brown that is a mix of cocaine and gun powder. They started killing RUF members and others whom they thought as enemy. After a while they are found by UNICEF representatives and send to Freetown for rehabilitation. Ishmael then goes to New York and continues his education.

Method: Based on real life story.

Excerpt: Rather than playing football, i was on duty at bouts around the village, smoking grass and snorting brown brown that is a mix of cocaine and gun powder that is always on the table. Also I was taking the white pills that i was addicted to. (p.134)


Some keywords: Child soldiers, diamonds, substance addiction, UNICEF


Sunal, O.(2007); ‘‘5-6 February 2007 Paris Conference and Child Soldiers’’, Çalışma Ortamı Magazine, Issue No.91, March-April

Sunal, O.(2007); ‘‘5-6 February 2007 Paris Conference and Child Soldiers’’, Çalışma Ortamı Magazine, Issue No.91, March-April.

Number of Works Cited:


The history of child soldiers that is recently attracting attention from the world media is rather long. Following the movie ‘Blood Diamond’ premiered in 2007, concepts such as trade, poverty, globalization, and exploitation started to be discussed again. And the Paris Conference has been made to demonstrate the situation in Africa where income made through diamond trade is spent directly to buy weapons and to prevent the use of such weapons by children. Child labour has been listed among unacceptable works in ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention No. 182.

An Excerpt from the Article:

The subject of child soldiers attracted the attention of (UN) United Nations and (United Nations International Child Fund) UNICEF when in the 1990s wars and civil wars and struggles particularly in Africa and in other continents started to increase. Because an important part of these wars and civil disorders was in poorest countries, armed groups easily recruited 100.000s of children by deceiving, kidnapping, frightening and applying violence. All children male and female started to be used to work in different jobs by force. Children aged 6-7, nearly baby-aged, were being used to lay mines, bring and send news, make meals and more importantly, fight with guns in their hands. And female children were forced to have sexual intercourse with soldiers in their early ages and exploited.

Some Keywords:

Africa, child soldiers, child exploitation, sexual exploitation of children, diamonds, globalisation, arm traders