July 27, 2007
Why do some people suffer and perish? Why do some people suffer, gather strength then rise up to help others who are suffering? I often think of these questions, and last night they consumed me. I have been reading A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah over the last couple of weeks. At times I had to put the book down. I couldn’t continue to see, taste, smell, hear and feel war in all its ugly forms. War is far more than two groups shooting at each other. War destroys everything and everyone in its path. As I was reading the book, in the back of my mind I knew Ishmael got out; he escaped, came to America and wrote this very moving memoir. But I was gripped with fear at times that he would not survive. He asks in the book several times, why? Why does he live while others die? I ask, why would a child who can quote Shakespeare, a creative soul, ever be forced to pick up a gun and take life? I don’t know. His life is still unfolding. He has done wonderful things to raise awareness about the atrocities that children face in war torn countries. He is a young man, and his strength to endure makes me believe that Ishmael Beah is just getting started with his work. My eyes and heart have been opened wider by this book.
As the time nears for me to leave for Africa some of the whys about my trip have been answered. Not for the future, but a nod to events that have happened in the past to prepare me for this time in my life.