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Mohamed Sidibay

My name is Mohamed Sidibay and I am a junior at The George Washington University studying peace and conflict resolution. Backtrack. I am originally from Sierra Leone West Africa. A country ravaged by a ten years civil war in which I became part of. I was only 3 years old when they came. My parents were nowhere in sight and only when I was forced from their house did I have a sense for the evil before me. The man I would later come to call « general » took my parents from me before my very eyes.

In retrospect, I think it’s easy to portend the inhumanity that followed the first of many vile visions I was forced to execute. But it affected me every time, no question. I learned to refill a  bullet chamber instead of a ink ink cartridge. I mastered how to spray walls with lead before I could lather paper in ink.Is there any reason I did away with errant shells for dimpled chads?

Worse than the experience of civil war is its grisly aftermath. Everyone wants to avenge their loss, many of which were committed by children who had yet to master the alphabet. Worse then was going back to my old neighborhood. I tried to conceal what wasn’t already looted but with little luck. I was shunned by my own community, the worst shame in a close-knit African culture. Elders derided my shamelessness and my peers projected their own vicious acts on me. The A-Z of life had changed. The more youthful the visage, the more adult the carnage. And so it was.  Over the years I have dedicated my life to bring awareness to the issue of child soldiers and put a name and a face behind the stories people have been hearing.  In my quest to raise awareness on the plight of current and former child soldiers, education has played an intricate part in helping give a voice to the voiceless. I have made it a point to make something out of nothing, to carve a path where there was none, and to make somebody out of someone everyone expected to be nobody.

« There is no destiny; one creates his destiny, what he wants it to be and not what it should be. »

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