The Killing Fields

Writer recounts his teens -- when he slaughtered countrymen.

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When he was 12, Ishmael Beah was a scared kid running from rebels in his Sierra Leone homeland. A year later, he was a gun-toting warrior, reluctantly recruited to kill insurgents by the government’s army. In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Beah, now 26, recounts his time in the killing fields. “It was very difficult remembering all these things,” he says. “But it was something I had to do. It helped me understand, and come to terms with parts of the past.” @cal body 1:Beah was rescued by UNICEF workers 10 years ago. He was sent to a rehabilitation center. “I didn’t know who I was,” he recalls. “There was no hope.” Beah eventually moved to the United States, where he graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. These days, he works with human rights groups and tries to put his bloody past behind him. He says writing the book helped. “It was therapeutic. Writing about it allowed me to tell about things that I don’t bring up on a daily basis. It helped me regain my humanity.”
Thu., March 1, 7 p.m.

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