Sunday 10 April 2016

Allah Is Not Obliged, 2007, Ahmadou Kourouma ****

Allah Is Not Obliged (to be fair about all the things he does here on earth) is a novel that I surprisingly enjoyed. Keeping in mind it is a translation, coupled with the fact that I couldn't bring myself to finish reading the author's other book "Waiting for the Wild Beast to Vote". That said, let me also confess that the beginning of the book was somewhat tedious, the narrator's style was annoying but I gradually got use to him, a ten year old orphan turned child soldier.

Birahima the orphan, lost his mother and went in search of his aunt who lives in a war ravaged Liberia, along with a family friend turned "Sorcerer". As expected, during their journey they ran into various guerrilla fighters and had to join them to survive, or else die.

In my opinion this book sort of cast light on the unrestrained use of child soldiers in the civil war that caused extensive damage to the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone. The only difference being that it is disturbingly narrated through the voice of a child in a "matter of fact" way.

I have as well read about the
Liberian war through the non-fiction novel "The House at Sugar Beach" by Helene Cooper which I highly recommend. The war was bloody, violent, savage and aimless, a war based on hatred and the will to satisfy at all cost the individual desire of  warlords that split the country into pieces. Children as young as seven years old, were captured, brutalised, drugged, and handed an AK47 and ask to fire. The leaders of the neighbouring country weren't any better, murderers disguised as Presidents continuously fuelling the civil war where human slaughtering and maiming was omnipresent.

My only qualm with the book was perhaps my lack of understanding about the war in Sierra Leone, it's my fault not the writers as I don't know the historic background behind the war. Nevertheless, I totally understood it was bloody, based on hatred and greediness.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend.

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  1. I can't bring myself to watch or read any thing about child soldiers. So kudos for reading this book and giving such an honest and great review.

    1. Linda yah... I know.. sort of hard and really disturbing. Allah Is Not Obliged is what I would consider a historic fiction. It is extremely sad that boys and girls are robbed of their childhood in such a way.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I had my eyes opened to the absolute evil involved in the war in Sienna Leone when I read Ishmael Beah's memoir A Long Way Gone. It didn't give me any political understanding though, only the story from the point of view of a young boy just trying to stay alive. I should probably read Allah is not Obliged but I don't think I could handle the bloodshed again. Maybe in the future. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Mary!

    1. Hi Debbie, welcome back once more. You know I really enjoyed "A long Way Gone" however I am not sure about the political history behind Sierra Leone. I read it roughly in Allah Is Not obliged but it wasn't clear... I have a clear understanding of what happened in Liberia but not in Sierra Leone. Hopefully, I'll set my hands on something insightful.

      Allah is not Obliged is defnitely a historical fiction.... Not just the bloodsheding, it is the child narrating the story,... Anyway, leave it for later.

  3. It's great to get your thoughts on this novel. Glad you liked it.

  4. Is it my omission or your email address is nowhere in your beautiful blog

    1. Dear Mr. Obaigbo,
      Here you go

      Sorry about that,


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