Book Review: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah and Blood Diamonds

This book is called A long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah.  It was written in 2007. It is a true story about the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 90s. I did not review every single detail but I did note any “Hebrewisms” that I read.

  • The author had a sling shot when he was 12 years old much like King David.
  • His grandfather was called “teacher” in the village.
  • His grandmother carried a walking stick.
  • The author referred to his father’s wives as “stepmothers.” He believed the stepmothers destroyed he and his brother’s relationship with his father. As the father added stepmothers, he stopped paying for the author’s and his brothers (Junior) schooling. The stepmothers put an end to the schooling as they demanded money from their husband. I could infer that the author and his brother felt abandoned by their dad. He was there for them physically but not emotionally.
  • After reading chapter 2, I thought it was amazing that a demon(s) would have the rebels walk 20 miles to murder civilians in the hot sun or by night when the wild animals are loose. (Proverbs 6:18)
  • In chapter 2, the villagers knew that the rebels were only 20 miles away. The villagers kept running to the forest when messages from the rebels were sent but really they should have never gone back to their village.
  • In chapter 3, the author was heating up Okra Soup and rice for his brother and friends when the rebels came into the village. That Okra Soup follows us every where we go (See the Hebrewisms of Africa post).
  • Chapter 4, I thought war brings hunger. Remember when David and his troops were hungry? Yah sent David to Abigail. Because of their hunger, these boys, Ishmael, his brother and friends went back to the village. Remember Yahoshua told us when we are on the run…NEVER GO BACK. Matthew 24:15-20. They went back because they remembered money hidden under the foot of the bed frame. The rebels sacked the home but the money was still there. The rebels did not find it but the rebels did find Ishmael and them in the house.
  • Chapters 5-6, A question came to my mind: Why not choose to die instead of killing/raping your own family and/or neighbors? Why become a rebel? The rebels were recruiting young boys. Ishmael and them escaped the rebels miraculously. I noticed in chapter 6 and throughout the book that the people of Sierra Leone worshiped the ancestors, gods/fallen angels especially a fallen one named Allah…the source of their problems. Those gods never helped them because they burned a Imam to death in the town square and a dog ate up the burnt body, Ishmael said. That was a curse from Yah just like He sent dogs to eat up Jezebel’s body.
  • One of his friend’s uncle in another village, ridiculed the boys for not being good farmers (because they had been going to school until that stopped) yet they were excellent watchmen over the village…a lesson on using a person’s strong points to your advantage, I thought.
  • The author said they stoned other kids that made fun of them because their mom lived in another village and not with them (a Hebrewism, to throw stones). They lived 3 months in the village of Kamator as watchmen and farming. Why didn’t they keep it moving?
  • Chapter 7: One thing about the rebels…they waited the villagers out. They waited so long that the villagers would let their guards down and go back to regular living. The village was attacked unexpectedly one night.
  • The boys slept in abandoned villages and drank water from streams.
  • The author also at one point, slept in the forest among snakes. He used grasses to wash himself and his clothes as squeezing them created suds. He remembered his grandfather “teacher” teaching him about plants.
  • The title of the book is explained on page 65. They were a long way gone from Mattru Jong, their village. “a long way gone” from home.

  • The author’s friend, Musa entertained them by telling Bra (Br’er) Spider stories (a Hebrewism from Africa) like Br’er Rabbit. See the Hebrewisms of Africa post.
  • Name-Giving Ceremony is mentioned on page 75 for children but there was no mention of it being on the 8th day.
  • The boys ate a crow. I couldn’t help but think that if they had known about/worshiped Yah and asked Yah for food, He would have sent that crow(s) with food for them like He did for Yliyah (Eliyah) in the bible, 1 Kings 17:6. Shortly after that, one of the boys died in his sleep. This same boy had heard his sisters being raped by rebels while he hid in the house. They knew eating that bird was strange and they cried about that. This boy died of a broken heart.
  • The rebels often laughed at people as they died. They heard the rebels bragging and laughing about killing people. Interesting that the rebels did not look for Sierra Leone soldiers to fight but killed the civilians like a stalking serial killer. Cowards.
  • The author and the other boys became soldiers of the government army by chapter 12. The author could recite Shakespeare before the age of 12. This will get the attention of the lieutenant who liked to read Julius Caesar. The author also liked to pretend to be an MC (emcee,rapper) when he was in school. He loved the Sugar Hill Gang, Run DMC and he participated in talent shows at school. His strong memory got him noticed.
  • One day at work in January, a co-worker lost her father and we were crying with her. I came home sad that day. I picked up this book and began to read which was a big mistake. I read about cutting throats, setting on fire, women cut open with babies inside, children 7 and/or 10 years old in war getting their spines blown apart…all types of murderous mayhem. I had a nightmare that night.
  • By chapter 17, I noted that the author had PTSD and later I read that he had nightmares and could not sleep. Something interesting about what King David said…In Psalm 119:62 he said he was up late at night praying to Yah. The Hebrews prayed 3 times a day and all before sunset. Why was David up so late? Because David was a man of war. All that blood and killing would be there in his dreams. The only way to stop the terrible dreams is to ask Yah to take it away. Since I had that nightmare, every night before I go to sleep I ask Yah to guard and protect me in my dreams and to give me peace in my dreams (spiritual warfare) and so far I have not had any more nightmares. And always pray in the name of Yahoshua, the name of authority. Something else I thought about: When King David was very young he killed a bear and a lion. David was very young and wanted to fight in the war with his brother(s). His brother thought David was to young and wanted him to go home and tend the sheep. 1 Shemuyah 17:28-52 (Samuel).

Th

  • The author’s nickname in the army was “little green snake” because of his hidden ambush style of fighting. He hid well until it was to late for his enemy. You can see from his photo above that he was a small guy…but carried big guns.
  • Kissy Street in Freetown is mentioned several times in the book. Kissy, Kizzy is a nickname for KeziYah, a Hebrew name. The name of one of Job’s (Iyob) daughter.
  • The author was shot while in the army and lived. One thing I should mention is that the government army hooked these boys on drugs. Drug Sorcery. Cocaine and a drug called brown-brown, a mix of cocaine and gun powder were given to them! They were super soldiers!! Cocaine comes from Central/South America so how did it get to Africa? More about that later.
  • The author was chosen by the Lieutenant and UNICEF to leave the war. I think the author was chosen because of his love of Shakespeare like the Lieutenant.
  • Chapter 17 was a surprise to me…the love chapter. I wasn’t expecting love in a book like this. And really I chose this book because I thought there would be no romantic love. Anyway, the author and the other soldiers chosen by UNICEF were going through drug withdrawal at a juvenile center. The author was about 16 years old by this time. A nurse named Esther helped him recover. She was a little older than him, he said. She helped him heal physically and emotionally. They found his uncle (his dad’s brother) still living in Freetown and Ishmael went to live with him. He visited Esther once at her home but never again. He said he did love her. That part was sad to me, that they did not make it. He never saw her again.
  • Ishmael was picked along with 100 other children to speak at the UN (United Nations) about children’s welfare around the world.
  • Ishmael’s uncle dies from sickness as the rebels capture Freetown. That’s it…Ishmael asks a friend who became his guardian later, to take him in. She lived in New York, they met when he was at the UN speaking on children’s welfare. One thing about the older adults, they were impressed by him. He was smart. She had been sending him money and he saved it so when the rebels came to Freetown HE WAS READY TO FLEE. This time he did not turn back!! HalleluYah! He took an “underground” or secret bus on the back streets of the city out of Freetown to the country of Benin. He said he went through many checkpoints. I looked at a map and thought this must have been his route: Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and then Benin. I looked at Burkina Faso and Liberia but thought those countries may have already been war-torn, so avoided.
  • The author told a parable in the last paragraph of the last chapter. The author had gained wisdom. He said he would not have chosen between mom and dad because he would not have hunted a monkey in the first place because there are deer to eat in the forest. He chose the righteous answer, the righteous way. He chose clean meat to eat. HalleluYah. I think his mom and dad would have been proud of him. His family members were burned alive by the rebels.
  • At the end of the book, I wondered what happened to his friend Mohamed and his uncle’s family who stayed in Freetown? In his acknowledgements in the back of the book, he thanked his friend and his cousin so I was glad that they were okay.
  • I wondered what happened to the author after this book so I became “Miss Nose.” Oh yes hunty, I googled! The author is doing well as far as I could see! The author from a picture I saw from 2019 is a little heavier and had a beard in the picture. He is now married to a human rights activist/lawyer named Priscilla. I was glad to see that he found love. The author is a human rights activist around the world.
  • In the very back of Ishmael’s book, he has a chronology set up. He mentions that there were tribes occupying Sierra Leone when other groups moved there in the 1400s.  So you know that the children of Ham were there first then the Israylites migrated there in the 1400s. A conflict waiting to happen. I’m not going to mention all of the dates but only some.
  • In 1652, The first slaves in North America are brought from Sierra Leone to the Sea Islands off the coast of the Southern United States (South Carolina and Georgia).
  • 1700-1800s, a slave trade thrives between Sierra Leone and the plantations of South Carolina and Georgia where the slaves’ rice-farming skills make them particularly valuable.
  • 1787, British abolitionists help four hundred freed slaves from the United States, Nova Scotia and Britain return to Africa to settle in what they call the “Province of Freedom,” in Sierra Leone. These Krio, as they come to be called, are from all areas of Africa.
  • 1791, Other groups of freed slaves join the “Province of Freedom” settlement and it soon becomes known as Freetown, the current capital of Sierra Leone.
  • 1792, Freetown becomes a colony of Britain.
  • 1800, Freed slave from Jamaica arrive in Freetown.
  • 1808, Sierra Leone becomes a British colony.
  • 1839, Slaves aboard a ship called the Amistad revolt to secure their freedom. Their leader, Sengbe Pieh or Joseph Cinque, as he becomes known in the United States, is a young Mende man from Sierra Leone.
  • 1961 Sierra Leone becomes independent from Britain.
  • From 1967 to 1977 there are military coups, embezzlement and unrest in Sierra Leone.
  • 1985, Joseph Saidu Momoh becomes president.
  • 1991, a small group of men called Revolutionary United Front (RUF) under the leadership of a former corporal, Foday Sankoh, begin to attack villages in eastern Sierra Leone on the Liberian border. The initial group is made up of Charles Taylor’s rebels and a few mercenaries from Burkina Faso. Their goal was to rid the country of the corrupt APC government. The RUF rapidly gains control of the diamond mines in the Kono district and pushed the Sierra Leone army back toward Freetown.
  • 1992, President Momoh goes into exile.
  • 1995, the RUF are ready to capture Freetown.
  • 1996, International pressure with the UN stepping in.
  • 1997, the RUF joins forces with the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) a military junta headed by Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Paul Koroma.
  • 1998, the AFRC is ousted by the Nigerian-led ECOWAS and President Kabbah is reinstated.
  • 1999, the RUF attempt another coup. ECOMOG drive them back. July 1999, The Lome Peace Accord is signed between President Kabbah and Foday Sankoh of the RUF. The agreement grants the rebels seats in a new government. The UN helps with the peace agreement.
  • 2000, more RUF violence, Sankoh is arrested with no more RUF in government seats. A cease fire agreement signed in May in Abuja (Hebrew Abiyah) ending the civil war.
  • 2001, second peace agreement signed in Abuja.
  • 2002, President Kabbah declares the civil war officially over.
  • 2002, the British withdraw a 200 man army that had been there since 2000. Sierra Leone and the UN set up a court for those who have committed crimes against humanity since 1996.
  • 2005, the UNAMSIL peacekeeping mission formally ends and UNIOSIL of Sierra Leone takes over peacekeeping.
  • 2006, After discussions with the newly elected Liberian president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria says that Liberia is free to take Charles Taylor, who has been living in exile in Nigeria but is apprehended and transferred to Freetown under UN guard by nightfall on March 29. He is currently incarcerated in a UN jail, awaiting trail (at the time that this book was written) at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on eleven counts of war crimes.

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  • Let’s talk more about Charles Taylor. I noted how the author ended the chronology with talking about Charles Taylor. The book above is called “The House at Sugar Beach” by Helene Cooper. It was written in 2008 but I read it in 2009 just before I came into the truth of the true names of the Most High & His Son, Yah and Yahoshua in 2010. After reading “A Long Way Gone” these civil wars make more sense or how they came about makes sense now. Helene Cooper and her family fled Liberia’s civil war. Her descendants came to Liberia from the United States in the 1800s after being released from slavery. When they fled Liberia, they returned to the US where they still had family.
  • Blood Diamonds: In 1991, the Ukraine broke away from Russia and there were some missing weapons thereafter including AK-47s. AK-47s are a Russian military weapon. A Ukraine business man sold them to Liberia and Sierra Leone. I wondered if the US government had a hand in helping him? Not clear? I also wondered how Cocaine gets to Africa without a big government like the US helping to take it there? Cocaine comes from South America.
  • Diamonds mined in the countries of Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were used to fund the war(s) hence the term blood diamonds, leaving a bloody trail.
  • The civil war in Liberia lasted from 1989 to 1996 and then again from 1999 to 2002. The civil war in Guinea lasted fro 1998 to 1999. The civil war in Sierra Leone lasted from 1991 to 2002.
  • I read that in the late 80s the RUF rebels were trained by Gadafi of Libya, about 100 men.
  • The once president of Liberia (in 1997), Charles Taylor joined forces to overthrow the Sierra Leone government.
  • How Charles Taylor came into power: He went to Bentley College of Massachusetts in the US. His focus or major in school was finance. Taylor worked in the Liberian government as an official but was removed because of embezzlement. Charles Taylor learned warfare in Libya under Gadafi and returned to Liberia in 1989 as a rebel. But before he went to Libya and after he embezzled money he fled to the United States. He was found and put in jail by US marshals in Massachusetts but escaped by cutting the bars and fled to New York and disappeared. In July 2009, Taylor claimed at his trial that  US CIA agents had helped him escape from the MAXIMUM security prison in Boston in 1985. This was during his trial by the UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone in the Hague. The US Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed that Taylor first started working with the US Intelligence in the 1980s but refused to give details of his role or US actions citing national security. Taylor escaped the US undetected. Shortly thereafter, he resurfaced in Libya and became Gadafi’s protege. In 1989 he returned to Liberia. Today Charles Taylor is behind bars in HM Prison in Frankland County in Durham England.
  • The Ukraine business man is serving time in Italy where he was busted.

http://www.ishmaelbeah.com

 

 

Published by blessedwomanofyah

Shalom, my name is AshantiYAH. I am a servant of the Most High Yah and His son Yahoshua. I am a messianic Israylite. My hometown is T'zion.

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