any connection between the book, the outside world, and our own lives ??
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This is difficult to answer. In terms of the outside world, children are still being used in conflict zones as I write this.Beah's hell is being played out in African countries and some places in Eastern Europe. Our own lives, meaning the developed West, is not as clear. I don't think the general public is aware, or cares too much, that this is going on. We see stories of this through this book and in major studio productions like "Blood Diamond" (2006) or "Lord of War" (2005) but the general public seldom internalizes what is happening.