Beasts of No Nation (Book Review)

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In Uzodnima Iweala’s Beast of No Nation, We follow Agu down a slippery slope of psychological and physical turmoil. With his father murdered and his mother and sister evacuated out of the village by the United Nations, Agu joins the long list of children forced to fight as rebels under the Commandant who uses the young boys for delivrance from his sexual urges. Agu, Strika and the other children are as much victims and perpetrators of the worst of many crimes against civilains. The longer Agu fights with the rebels the harder it becomes for him to remember his mother, his sister and life before he was a soldier.

Though we are oblivious of the nation in which these atrocities are occurring, it is clear that it could be any where from Sierra Leone to Liberia, or another other African nation where children have been used as weapons of mass destruction. I really enjoyed this book even though much of the story frightened and repulsed me. I think it is a must read for anyone interested in peace and conflict issues, children and development. What future if any can the Agu’s of Sierra Leone hope for in the effort on rehabilitation and reconstruction? What kind of future is in store for places like Sierra Leone whose future leaders can recall such expereinces as those in beasts of no nation?

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Vickie Remoe is a Marketing Communications Specialist, a business consultant, and an entrepreneur with 7 years of experience. She also holds a M.S. Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.