A Long Way Gone

Why does Beah specifically mention that one of the consequences of war is that people stop trusting each other and every stranger becomes an enemy?

Chapter 6 of A Long Way Gone

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In a civil war like in Sierra Leone, trust and innocence are the first casualties. As Ishmael travels with his companions from village to village people often run or eye them with a sense of fear. Children, especially boys, are no longer innocent, they have become killers. This is especially sad in a culture that honours hospitality and extended families. Trust is destroyed, “This is one of the consequences of the civil war. People stop trusting each other, and every stranger becomes an enemy.” (pg 37). In certain villages Ishmael is able to win people over with his rap impressions and foster a little trust. This, however, is short lived. In the context of this book trust and survival do not coexist. There may be glimpses of it but they are like an oasis in a desert. When people are merely struggling from hour to hour, trust is a luxury that can get them killed. This is the nature of civil war, especially in an already impoverished nation like Sierra Leone.