Sierra Leone Stories

Sierra Leone

tokebeach1.jpg sierra_leone_1.jpg
Toke Beach, Sierra Leone
"Toke Beach, Sierra Leone." Martin Beatte. Sierra Leone Holidays. date accessed 17/05/07. sierra-leone-holidays/index.htm

Ishmael Beah

On May 16, 2007 Salt Lake City's Leonardo Center for Documentary Arts hosted the first formal public appearance of best-selling author
Ishmael Beah with his "heart" mother, Laura Simms. They offered a compelling conversation about the healing power of love as well as anecdotes of their relationship. They spoke to a near full house in the Main Library's auditorium and received a standing ovation. Beah is exceptionally articulate and poetic. The warmth of the relationship between Simms and Beah radiated like the glow from a family hearth. What a privilege to have heard and seen them. It's hard to imagine Beah in Sierra Leone's civil war leading the life chronicled in his book A Long Way Gone.

Beah gave a book talk in Salt Lake City's Calvary Baptist Church on May 17, 2006. Have a listen here: (trying to upload the podcast!)

"Bongema Elementary School." date accessed: 16/05/07. projects/sierra_leone.htm

Get Involved!

Beah spoke of compelling ways people can be proactive about helping to stop atrocities committed against children in nations at war.
1. Get to know as many places as you can that are NOT at war. Do this to understand humanity as humanity and not as warriors.
2. Support the bi-partisan Child Soldier Prevention Act currently in Congress. Did you know that the US currently supports 8 of the 20 governments that use children as soldiers? Money is powerful. Demand a stop to US sponsored exploitation of children.
3. Demand fair and humane treatment for children fleeing war torn countries and child soldier internment. Currently children seeking asylum in the US are treated as criminals, being housed in prisons while placement is determined.
4. Become educated about the specifics of the cause. Don't just be a "screaming liberal." Be specific. Be informed. What you have to say will be much more compelling if you can support it with facts.
beah.jpg1 LauraSimms_ArmsOutspread.jpg2
1. Ishmael Beah. online image. photo by John Medere. 1/10/2007. "Gone to Starbucks." USA Today. date accessed 5/16/07.
2. Laura Simms. online image. date accessed 5/16/07. Laura

We look forward to working more on developing our pages on Sierra Leone as we learn more about the conflict and the stories of the people there.
Can you offer anything to help these pages develop? We are especially interested in hearing from individuals who have a story to tell. We believe the best way to encourage world peace is to understand each other as humans.

Laura Simms said an interesting thing about the power of stories in her recent talk in Salt Lake City. She said one of the things she's learned is that once people can recognize that we all live by stories that we believe represent truth then we can start to work on being more compassionate. Being compassionate doesn't mean trying to convince others of our own stories, but rather means recognizing we all live our own truths.

The beauty of story telling is the effect it has on uniting the human spirit. Let's hear each other's stories. Go to this page Stories and share one! We love having pictures too. If you have the image on line, it's really easy to post it. The wikispaces intro can help you understand how.

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International