Monday, April 19, 2010

Warchild - Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal is an ex-child soldier. He was born in Southern Sudan just before the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out in 1983. He doesn't know exactly when he was born, but Emmanuel approximates his date of birth to be around January 1, 1980.

The First Sudanese Civil War began in 1955 and ended with the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972. The Second Sudanese Civil War ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. The Sudanese Civil War is the longest running war in the 20th century leaving 2 million civilians killed and 4 million more civilians displaced over a time span of two decades.

Emmanuel and many other children were recruited by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and taken to military training camps in Ethiopia where they were trained to fight. The SPLA is a predominantly Christian rebel group that was formed in 1983 by rebellious south Sudanese soldiers of the Sudanese Army. These joined remnants of the Anyanya rebels of the First Sudanese Civil War based in Ethiopia. Emmanuel's father was a member of the SPLA. After Emmanuel's first boat to Ethiopia sank, his father never looked for him. Emmanuel became a "lost boy". Emmanuel's mother was killed by loyal government soldiers when he was seven years old.

In 1991, Emmanuel Jal was rescued by Emma McCune, a British aid worker, who adopted and smuggled him to Kenya, where he acquired a love for singing and music. Today, he is using music in the form of African hip-hop as a vehicle to deliver his message to bring to light the corruption of the Sudanese government and to reach the youth. Emmanuel is a spokesman for the Make Poverty History campaign, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and the Control Arms campaign.

I was deeply moved by Emmanuel Jal's testimony and by the end of his story, you will be too. I urge you to watch this video in it's entirety.

Related Links:

Wikipedia: Emmanuel Jal
Emmanual Jal: Official Site
Emmanuel's Charity: GUA Africa

Purchase the items below at Amazon.com:

Book: War Child: A Child Soldier's Story
Music: WARchild

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