Emmanuella S Pieh

  • My Educational Goal:

Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.

  • My Career Goal:

I want to be a human rights activist.

  • Personal Experience of War:

My experience during the civil war was devastating, memories of which I hate to recall. I was 12 and as it is the case in many wars children are the hardest hit and Sierra Leone is no exception.

It was on January 6th 1999; I woke up at 3 am in the morning with gunshots. I looked through the window to see what was happening and to my greatest surprise I saw red lights in the sky which were bullets flying above our place and everywhere in the Freetown. There was screaming, crying and wailing.

I lived in the Western part of the city, but because the atmosphere was not conducive my mother thought it was wise to move to the eastern side. But as we journeyed we saw people moving from the east coming our direction. And also those from the north were running to the south and visa versa.

There was no hope for me during the war because the rebels were using civilians as "human shields" and the ruling government then and its allied force ECOMOG fought against the rebels at the expense of the masses.

A bomb fell near my house and killed a woman with her two kids who were running to seek refuge in the Eastern part. A fragment went ahead and chopped off the right eye of an old woman who could not run away and an arm of a lady. Because there were no caskets at that time the bodies were just wrapped and taken to the mortuary for mass burial.

Also a man, who was alleged to be a politician, was burnt alive by the rebels. They placed a tire on him, threw petrol and set him ablaze. For days later the dogs in my community made a feast of the corpse. I saw so many things during the war. For instance boys even at the age of nine were holding guns and placing elderly people under gunpoint. ECOMOG wrote on roads and footpaths "no road", wherein those who are couldn't read, and thereby killed thousands of people. Things were expensive and were even hard to get, especially foodstuff.

  • My Experience in Peace:

Thanks be to God that there is serenity now in Sierra Leone. The peace accord was signed, the peacekeepers came in and even the international community. At least, the stigmas are being reduced and also the rehabilitation of infrastructures, setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the Special Court, Children affected by the War (CAW), various programs such as 'fambul tok', the coming up of NGO's, tourist, and various development programs making the peace very much explicit.

My experience in war and peace made me conclude that wars, whether small or big, are not good and any country that engages in it retrogresses rather than progresses. And there