Allah Is Not Obliged
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Allah Is Not Obliged

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  553 ratings  ·  73 reviews
ALLAH IS NOT OBLIGED TO BE FAIR ABOUT ALL THE THINGS HE DOES HERE ON EARTH.These are the words of the boy soldier Birahima in the final masterpiece by one of Africa’s most celebrated writers, Ahmadou Kourouma. When ten-year-old Birahima's mother dies, he leaves his native village in the Ivory Coast, accompanied by the sorcerer and cook Yacouba, to search for his aunt Mahan...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Anchor (first published 2000)
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This book purports to be the story of Birahima, an orphan 10 years of age, and his odyssey to reunite with his closest living relative, an aunt who resides in (shudder) Liberia. Except that it's not just a story about Birahima, it's really a story about the western part of Africa and the utter destruction and desolation of these poor exploited countries, particularly Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Kourouma speaks through the medium of Birahima, and in so doing gives the reader an account of the roots...more

المرة الأولى التي أقرأ فيها لاحمدو كوروما و الذي يكتب رواية على لسان طفل في الثامنة أو ربما العاشرة فالأم و الجدة يختلفان حول سنّه. الله يفعل ما يشاء و الرب غير ملزم بإقامة العدل في كل مكان على الأرض. تلك هي الجملة التمهيدية و التي يمكن اعتبارها لزمة البطل إذ تتردد كثيراً كما هو الحال بالنسبة للشتائم التي لم أكن بحاجة لإحصائها حتى أشعر أنني قرأتها مايزيد عن المئة مرة - بدون مبالغة -. في المقابل ستغدو الأفكار و الأمثال الأفريقية بمثابة الصلح الذي لا يمكن رفضه. التشبيهات أيضاً في منتهى الغرابة و ا...more
This is like Pere Ubu traipsing through the jungles of West Africa seeking riches: the ribald and absurdist journey of a ten year old hired gun and his bullshit-talking, witch doctor guardian, both surviving their way through Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia during their most violent years. Unlikely captures and escapes propel the narrator and his cohort from one camp of fighters to another and from one key moment of the wars to the next. Their movements give Kourouma the opportunity to tel...more
This is a horrific story. The violence is told in a matter of fact way with no apologies and little sympathy.

But you cannot ignore the fact that this book is simply not well written, on account of it being written by a 10 year old that may actually be 11...

The story is told by this supposed child "on account that I'm only a kid" he makes a few mistakes and uses a dictionary, a lot. One minute he is explaining what single file is and pooh pooh pee peeing and then he is talking about indigenes and...more
Mohannad Haj
"الله ليس مرغما على إقامة العدل في كافة أفعاله على هذه الأرض"

هكذا يبدأ الصبي-المجند إبراهيما قصته المفزعة في حقيقتها عن ماخور الحرب في غرب أفريقيا .. ماخور ينز قيحا وصديدا ويعكس مدى قبح الإنسان وشرّه إذا لم يتم ترويضه بالأخلاق والعلم .. وكالعادة فإن الشياطين يلزمها أن تحمل المصاحف والأناجيل والتمائم لتقنع الحمقى المساكين -وما أكثرهم- ..

إذا فكرت في الأمر .. فسيكون حسابنا عسيرا عسيرا لأننا لم نتحمل مسؤوليتنا في هذا العالم بعد .. حمل المآسي يزداد كلّما تأخرنا .. كيف سننجو ؟! لا أدري !

أذكركم طبعا بـ...more
"We left Kik to the mercy of humans in the village the we left Sarah to the mercy of the animals and the insects. Which of them was better off? Definitely not Kik. That's wars for you. Animals have more mercy for the wounded than humans."-- Allah is Obliged

This short book written by the late Ahmadou Kourouma follows the life of a street kid, Birahima (the book is written in his perspective), and a grigriman/ crook, Yacouba as they leave their home in the Ivory Coast to find Birahima's aunt Mahan...more
ريم الصالح
عليكَ أن تعلم قبل أن تقرأ هذا الكتاب،
بأنك ستدخل عالماً جديداً تماماً..
عالم الزنوج، والتمائم، والحروب، والعصابات
عالم الجنود-الأطفال، والجوع، والقتل، والهجرة

عالمٌ لم تعهده في حلمٍ أسود
أو حتى، في قدرٍ مشؤوم...!
"الله ليس مرغماً علئ إقامة العدل في كافة أفعاله على هذه الأرض.! فالله يفعل ما يشاء"
هذا هو العنوان الذي اختاره ابراهيما، "ابن الشارع عديم الخوف والوازع، الطفل-الجندي!" عندما كتب مذكرات رحلته هذه
عبر ليبيريا المنحوسة إلى سيراليون التي لا تقل عنها نحساً.! وتجارب الانقلابات التي كانت تودي بحياة ال...more
There's nothing more endearing than a child soldier armed with an AK-47 and several dictionaries. Ahmadou Kourouma has created just such a character in the 10-year-old Birahima, a cheating, thieving, drug-addicted, machine-gun wielding narrator. He has decided to tell us his story, but on his own terms, as he says "Allah is not obliged to be fair about all the things he does here on Earth" and neither is Birahima. He tells us what he feels like, when he feels like writing, but be wary of him whe...more
What a book!

A real eye-opener, the book makes you think a lot about the status quo.

I was really frustrated with the way things were in the book, especially with the outright ignorance and violence. However, that did not deter me from finishing it (though I did think about it!), it was a mixture of humour and tragedy that came across as ironic and heartbreaking.

The format can be a bit annoying due to the repetition of descriptions and words, but you get used to it eventually.

The book is remini...more
The voice of "Allah is Not Obliged" flaunts the promise of an iconoclastic, irreverent narrator and instead devolves into Sierra Leone and Liberian history with the thinnest thread of violence and displacement woven throughout. The child solider narrator glamorizes his life without ever delving deeper than mentioning what get gets to eat, over-using repetition in an allusion to West African oral history, and somehow at the end we get a 60+ page overview of regional conflicts. Close, but no.
Jun 25, 2010 Kevin rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: class
While this book was a fast read, I did not enjoy it at all. This is definitely one of the few books I've read for a class that I absolutely hated. I think my main problem was with the writing style. The topic would be interesting, but the language used in the book was ridiculous. I can only read the word "ni***r" so many times before I can't tolerate it any more. I won't be reading this again.
This was an experience of a book to read.

Our narrator Birahima, a child soldier, explains early on in his tale that "Allah is not obliged to be fair about all the things he does here on Earth." Sometimes people die who should live, hurt when they should be happy, strive just to fail, and Allah doesn't have to explain himself to anyone.

Or in other words, life ain't fair and there's no point in complaining about it.

After the death of his mother, Birahima sets off to an aunt's house. But his journ...more
Dont generally make the effort to write a review but in this case I was compelled to do so.

الكثير الكثير من الدم و الوحشية و .. قلة الأدب، كل ما أحاول أكملها ما أقدر، العالم مظلم من غير شي!
يمكن أرجع لها في وقت لاحق.
Babak Fakhamzadeh
The title of the book is short for "Allah is not obliged to be fair about all the things he does here on earth" and is the self-told story of a West African child solder in the dying years of the 20th century. After having been orphaned, going in search for his aunt in Liberia, he ends up recounting his experiences in very politically incorrect terms while going through the many political changes in the late 90s in West Africa.

After fighting for the French in Indochina as well as studying mathe...more
'Allah is Not Obliged' is the relentlessly brutal but nonetheless hilariously acerbic sixth novel originally written in French by Ivorian writer Ahmaodou Kourouma, whose central conceit is that it is written as the first-person account of a child soldier who has travelled through West Africa, principally in Liberia and Sierra Leone and now finds himself with a stack of dictionaries and some paper.

Kourouma's narrator, Birahima, has a narrative voice full of such wit and mockery for the sheer hor...more
Rowland Bismark
Als jonge moeder sterft Birahima zet hij af van zijn dorp in Ivoorkust op zoek naar zijn tante in Liberia, vergezeld van de "geld te vermenigvuldigen 'dorp gigriman, een soort van ondernemer / tovenaar. Zo begint een reis door Liberia en Sierra Leone, een looptijd van drie jaar, waarin Birahima wordt een kind soldaat met een kalasjnikov - als hij zou zeggen, "een kleine soldaat met een Kalash". Gevangen in een wereld van krijgsheren en kleine leiders en etnische conflicten, in een maatschappij d...more
In the end, I found this book to be just ok. It was a quick read, and if it had taken longer I may have been harder on it, but based on the level of thought and effort required, I somewhat enjoyed it.

The story is written from the perspective of a child soldier, and the writing is crafted to reflect the naivety and sometimes repetitive nature of a child. Unlike some other reviewers, this writing style didn't bother me, and I thought it contributed to your understanding of the story.

The descript...more
Aug 25, 2008 Suzanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone remotely interested in the history of West Africa and the tragedy of its children.
"Je décide le titre définitif et complet de mon blablabla est 'Allah n'est pas obligé d'être juste dans toutes ses choses ici-bas'". Et, en effet, Allah n'est pas juste. Ce livre-roman raconte l'histoire triste de Birahima, enfant-soldat/soldat-enfant/small soldier/child soldier et ses pays de Guinée, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia et Sierre Leone, "ce fichu pays de Sierra Leone".

Birahima, "l'enfant de la rue sans peur ni reproche" et son compagnon, Yacouba "bandit boiteux, multiplicateur des billets d...more
Jo Haff
Avec une fausse pudeur, on rentre dans l'histoire, on s'attache au petit Birahima pas plus haut qu'un stick d'officier, sa lucidité en temps de guerre "c'est la guerre tribale qui veut ça", son côté méfiant "on sait que les grigris sont de la supercherie"...
J'avais croisé Ahmadou Kourouma au lycée, à Johannesburg. Je ne connaissais pas les grandes lignes du livre, et de toute façon, ce n'est que quand j'ai vu des enfants soldats que j'ai eu envie de travailler avec eux. Je l'ai alors croisé, mai...more
While this may have been an interesting read for those who are up to speed on sub-Sahara African politics, it was not the clearest for someone like myself who was earnestly curious about it.

the narrative is written in 1st person from the perspective of a child-soldier, but with the repetition and cuts to history, birahima comes across as much more aware than he should be...there is little to suggest he'd be so capable of elaborating on historical events the way he does. Kourouma's voice cuts th...more
Gijs Grob
Krachtige vertelling van de lotgevallen van een kindsoldaat tijdens de burgeroorlogen in Liberia en Sierra Leone van de jaren negentig. Het is geschreven in de eerste persoon, doorspekt met uitleg van 'moeilijke' woorden en krachttermen als Wahalé (bij Allah), Faforo (reet van mijn vader) en Gnamokodé (bastaardtroep). Door de boude verteltrant en de nuchtere humor komen al de beschreven verschrikkingen (o.a. wrede martelingen, zinloze moorden, verslaafde kindsoldaten en zelfs kannibalisme) eerde...more
Hmmm...I have a real love-hate relationship with this novel. I really enjoyed the parts where Birahima, the narrator, told readers about himself and the other child-soldiers, but when Kourouma began the history lesson I just did not find the book very interesting. I was looking for a story on child soldiers and their lives from their perspectives. The book reads like a history lesson from the perspective of a 40 year old writing as a 10 year old. At this point...I really don't want to read this...more
James Flynn
If you're looking for a story that will illuminate you on the horrors of war, allow you to weep in shared pain or drive you to inspired action this may not be the book for you. Instead "Allah is Not Obliged" takes you along an irreverent and darkly humorous journey of a child solider in West Africa. Told from the perspective of a pre-teen boy Ahmadou Kourouma gives insight into a rarely imagined reality. Kourouma crafts the world of a boy who has seen too much to be a called a child yet has not...more
I an only imagine how complicated it was to put this book together - a narrative straight from the brutally honest (and vulgar) mouth of a child soldier from Cote d'Ivoire as he follows the tribal and rebel wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is crisp and clinically logical about the young boy soldier's life during this tumultuous time. His ability to survive when faced with impossible situations is admirable; his humour upon telling these days sheer bravery. Finally, the author's craftsmanship...more
Apr 27, 2008 Toja rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: College and High School Classrooms
This book was assigned by my advisor for his "History of Africa since 1940" class. It is important because it contextualizes the story with historical accuracy. The viewpoint, however, is that of a child soldier. He doesn't quite capture this, and in many ways he works too hard to lend authenticity to his character. Kourouma's use of irony and humor do work to offset the horror and violence one would expect to visualize in story about the Liberian civil war. It works well as a didactic novel and...more
i simply loved the style of writing if this book. simple language from a ten year old, and very funny. i was a bit guilty laughing in the middle of a book about war, more so fought by child-soldiers, but i couldn't help myself. Having read a translated version, am happy to say that it read very well, and i doubt much was lost in translation. the history of events surrounding Liberia and sierra leone at the time i need to research as true (they seemed so). am happy that the book inspired this. fi...more
catherine anne
"Son âme c'est une bonne et trop forte âme parce qu'elle a trop pleuré et a trop marché sur les fesses ici-bas."
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Ahmadou Kourouma, (November 24, 1927 – December 11, 2003) was an Ivorian novelist.
The eldest son of a distinguished Malinké family, Ahmadou Kourouma was born in 1927 in Côte d'Ivoire. Raised by his uncle, he initially pursued studies in Bamako, Mali. From 1950 to 1954, when his country was still under French colonial control, he participated in French military campaigns in Indochina, after which h...more
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“Des soldats, des enfants-soldats se sont joints à eux. Tout ce monde s'est réuni, s'est mis en cercle, et ça a organisé un concert de pleurs. Tout ce monde s'est mis à pleurer. Un groupe de bandits de grand chemin, de criminels de la pire espèce, pleurer comme ça. Il fallat voir ça, ça valait le détour.” 0 likes
“Moi alors j'ai commencé à ne rien comprendre à ce foutu univers. À ne rien piger à ce bordel de monde. Rien saisir de cette saloperie de société humaine. Tête Brûlée avec les fétiches venait de conquérir Niangbo ! C'est vrai ou ce n'est pas vrai, cette saloperie de grigri ? Qui peut me répondre ? Où aller chercher la réponse ? Nulle part. Donc c'est peut-être vrai, le grigri... ou c'est peut-être faux, du bidon, de la tricherie tout le long et large de l'Afrique. A faforo (cul de mon père) !” 0 likes
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