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Posted May 23, 2012
This book is a must read since it draws on the worst and best of humanity! The author provides a riveting personal account about Liberia’s long and brutal civil war. Agnes does a brilliant job of interweaving personal narratives of war victims and perpetrators in each chapter as she reveals her own experience of witnessing murder and destruction.
It also centers on her active role in helping her nation heal as it emerged into post-war recovery. She created the perfect venue to gather authentic stories from all sides of the war in her radio show called “Straight from the Heart”.
She started with victims—mostly women—who shared their stories of rape, torture and losing family members. Later she was given the assignment to interview the former child soldiers—both male and female, which was she reluctant at first. However, as she immersed herself into their communities, she was able to win their trust and began listening to essentially same story of forced conscription—kidnapped from their families, beaten, drugged and threatened until they were programmed as “killing machines” who committed some of the worst atrocities.
As she became sensitive to their humanity and suffering, she realized that they too were war victims. She felt compelled to offer support and guidance when she observed how they were treated as societal outcasts and “ghosts.” She has generously dedicated her time and resources to help as many of these young people as possible, not just in Liberia but also those discovered in New York City while she completes her Master’s Degree. She finds the New York group much more challenging, because they are harder to engage. Being a woman of determination, she does whatever she can to allow these Liberians to tell their stories.
Posted October 28, 2011
For those Americans who even knew there was a war in Liberia, it was inexplicable, baffling, and totally foreign. Agnes Fallah Kamara-Umunna lived it, up close and personal. And as her fellow country-men staggered forward after the war, burying the horrors they had just seen, experienced or perpetrated, Agnes took on the bold task of bringing these acts to light on her radio show in an attempt to bring reconciliation and understanding. She provided a forum for individuals, including former child soldiers and those they had terrified and brutalized, to relieve themselves of the burden of shame and secrecy, and for some to ask forgiveness. This book provides an incredibly important reminder about the plight of child soldiers, exploited by the very adults they trust, and left with no future in a country that despises them and casts them out. A compelling read, well-written. I highly recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2011
This is a tragically sad book.. yet full of hope and promise. A Must Read for Sure! I admit the first page was so horrendous that I almost stopped reading. However, I forced myself to read on rather than ignore the reality of what Liberians faced. I decided that the discomfort I felt reading was nothing compared to the inhumanity of War that people lived through. Kamara-Umunna has dedicated her life to the reconciliation process and this book does an excellent job of showing the tragic aftermath for both the perpetrators and victims and the necessary path to healing. Her story shows how one person helping one person, helping one person, etc., makes a difference. Tune in to NPR for a radio interview with the author about the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2012
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