Fordham Law 1L student Mohamed Sidibay was interviewed by Forbes about his life as a Revolutionary United Front child soldier and what inspired him to become a lawyer.
What was your life like before the RUF attacked your village?
MOHAMED SIDIBAY: Our small village — that was my world. Everyone was always happy. People weren’t rich but at the same time, people were content. I had a sister and brother who were much older. All I did was play. I loved to run. Because running was fun. Either I was smart talking someone and they chased me, or I decided to run to do something.
Was your family home the day that the RUF came?
MOHAMED SIDIBAY: Everyone was at home. And it was complete chaos.
Where were you?
MOHAMED SIDIBAY: Playing. And even though the sound of chaos was coming from where home was, I still ran in that direction because as a kid when something scares you, you go home because home is your safe place. When I arrived, they’d already captured people and split them up into two groups. I was going to go where I saw my family sitting but someone shoved me to the other group that was mainly kids and very young people. The fighters picked up their AK-47s and shot all the people on the side where my family was. Then they put us in the back of a van and took us away.
When did you begin to believe that you actually had a future?
MOHAMED SIDIBAY: Once I started liking school, I discovered I wanted to be a lawyer, thinking law was a way to bring about effective change. What I’m hoping to gain from law school is to be able to go back and help my country develop a strong judicial system. Sierra Leone took everything away from me. I want to help make sure that she gives more than she takes from the next generation.