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Things changed rapidly in a matter of seconds and no one had any control over anything. We had yet to learn these things and implement survival tactics, which was what it came down to.
Ishmael Beah, p. 29
Beah acknowledges that the rebels' violence has force himself and others like him to resort to "survival tactics." His world has been turned upside-down, and in the shock of his first few months' experience with the civil war, he is not yet ready to change with the mercurial situations he finds himself in. When civilization breaks down, the world is thrown into chaos and former priorities are set aside in favor of mere survival. Beah here foreshadows that he will eventually learn that life-saving lesson, but hints that it is a deplorable situation for a young man be forced to turn all his thought to survival from day to day.