Like Nemesis of Greek tragedy, the central problem of America after the Civil War, as before, was the black man: those four million souls whom the nation had used and degraded, and on whom the South had built an oligarchy similar to the colonial imperialism of today, erected on cheap colored labor and raising raw material for manufacture.
My mother has always instilled in us that we should carry ourselves with dignity despite the horror that came with the civil war. She also taught us that where you come from is very important because that's what makes you who you are. So for me, whatever I've gone through had profoundly shaped me; it has given me strength and unwavering faith.
Germany has spent the decades since World War II in national penance for Nazi crimes. America spent the decades after the Civil War transforming Confederate crimes into virtues. It is illegal to fly the Nazi flag in Germany. The Confederate flag is enmeshed in the state flag of Mississippi.
Whether the struggle was between English merchants and the American colonies, pre Civil War northern manufacturers vs. southern slave holders, or American grain farmers and auto manufacturers seeking advantage in the Mexican agriculture and labor markets in the 1990s, U.S. policy has reflected the economic clash of interests of the day.
Whenever I speak at the United Nations, UNICEF or elsewhere to raise awareness of the continual and rampant recruitment of children in wars around the world, I come to realize that I still do not fully understand how I could have possibly survived the civil war in my country, Sierra Leone.