Emmanuel Jal was forced to be child soldier in the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army in order to survive the civil war in Sudan at about the age of 7. His father had been killed, and his mother had also died. For five years he fought, until it was so unbearable that he ran away with others. For threes months they traveled, until reaching Waat, where they reached the safety of a group that had splintered from the main SPLA. Many of his traveling companions had died during the trip.
Jal met Emma McCune in Waat, a British aid worker who rescued him from his former life. He was 11 years old. McCune adopted him and smuggled him to Kenya where he was enrolled in a Nairobi school. Tragically, McCune was killed in a car accident only months later, but friends helped Jal to continue his studies.
From wikipedia :”Through his music, Emmanuel Jal counts on the unity of the citizens to overcome ethnic and religious division and motivate the youth in Sudan. After escaping to Kenya, he fell in love with hip hop in the way that it identified issues being faced by the neighborhood, which he was able to identify with in a unique manner. Although he lacked any music background or knowledge of its history, he felt that hip-hop could provide the easiest and most effective path to publicize across his story and lobby for political change. His primary aim has been, through music, to protect the childhood of others, which was unfairly robbed from him at a young age. “Music is powerful. It is the only thing that can speak into your mind, your heart and your soul without your permission.” Through his heartfelt lyrics, he opens the world up to the corruption and greed of the Sudanese government. According to Jal, in times of war, starvation, hunger and injustice, the only way to survive the daily tragedy in Sudan is to allow the inner-soul to be uplifted through music, which is like soul food to heal pain. His unique brand of hip hop, layered with African beats, has led him to be considered one of the rising stars in the world music scene. Prior to Jal, rapping in Southern Sudan was primarily in the local language of Nuer and artists used sticks and clapping hands in place of instruments. Central to the themes of his songs is the campaign for peace of opposing sides in Sudan and the clear message that children have no place in wars.”
On Memorial Day I just wanted to remind people that there are so many CHILDREN in this world that are directly affected by war. Remember these children when you vote. Don’t forget them. Coalition To Save Child Soldiers