Chapter 15. Did this change of location and circumstances have the effect on the boys that the UNICEF workers hoped for? Explain.
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This major turning point in Beah’s life is complicated by his thorough dedication to the military by the time the UNICEF workers arrive. He is so loyal to his commanding officers, his squad, and his “cause” that being sent away to have a new life and an education seems like a betrayal to him.The boys’ interactions with one another and their disdain for the UNICEF workers and the MPs brings to light the naivete of the UNICEF intervention in Sierra Leone. At this point, they believed the boys to be merely children who had been traumatized by violence. In the UNICEF compound it becomes clear that these young men are in fact deadly killers who cannot be cajoled into obedience when they are used to taking and giving orders in life-and-death situations. That the MPs are so ineffectual at keeping order suggests that Beah’s experience in actual combat has matured him beyond their “pretend” militarism, making him the superior warrior.
The riots at the UNICEF compound also demonstrate how deeply-rooted the boys’ military “brainwashing” (as Beah terms it) truly is.