Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Child Soldiers & Iweala's Beasts of No Nation

From today's BBC article "Syria crisis: Children 'recruited' by armed groups:"
Increasing numbers of children in Syria are being recruited by armed groups on both sides of the conflict, Save the Children says in a report. Children are being used as porters, guards, informers and fighters and, in some cases, as human shields, the charity said in Childhood Under Fire. Some two million children are in need of assistance in Syria, Save the Children estimates. It says the two-year conflict has affected all aspects of their lives.

For a novel on child soldiers, try Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala:
In this stunning debut novel, Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerrilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Haunted by his father's own death at the hands of militants, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander. While the war rages on, Agu becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started—a life of school friends, church services, and time with his family still intact. In a powerful, strikingly original voice that vividly captures Agu's youth and confusion, Uzodinma Iweala has produced a harrowing, inventive, and deeply affecting novel.

I'm completely out of touch with what's playing in theaters, but it seems that a film on child soldiers just came out last week. The Christian Science Monitor reports that "'War Witch' brings the plight of an African child soldier to horrifying life:"
Set in sub-Saharan Africa, “War Witch” brings us shudderingly close to the life of a 12-year-old girl who lives peacefully with her mother and father in an isolated village until pillaging rebels order her to shoot her parents. Komona, beautifully played by Rachel Mwanza, who has never acted before, has no choice: If she refuses, the rebels will kill her and hack her parents to death with a machete. So begins her initiation into the atrocious world of a child soldier.

UPDATE:  a longer, well-written review of Iweala's book can be found at the Amy Reads blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to my review. Love the premise of your blog - so true that novels help us learn more about current events!