Emmanuel Jal, rapper, former child soldier, philanthropist and spokesperson has just finished his most recent project, “War Child“; a memoir of his early childhood, conscription into the Christian Sudanese Liberation Army and subsequent recovery after fighting for nearly ten years in Sudan’s civil war.
Jal is a spokesman for Amnesty International and Oxfam, and has supported Save the Children, UNICEF, World Food Programme and Christian Aid. In addition to his charitable work with those organizations, he has established his own foundation, Gua Africa, aiding former Sudanese child soldiers.
An excerpt from the book:
It was afternoon and I had left the village with my friend Biel to go fishing. We were walking back home when we heard the deep blast of a big bomb. It was close. We looked at each other quickly before running to the top of a slope. Below us was our village. There was smoke and fire, people running in different directions like frightened chickens. Government soldiers were attacking. The savanna grass crunched beneath our feet as we started running down the hill. As we neared the road into the village, we saw two SPLA soldiers lying on the ground ahead and stopped. Hiding ourselves in the long grass, we poked our heads high enough to see about twenty villagers gathered by the side of the road surrounded by soldiers pointing guns at them. Other troops were beating a family.
“You’re keeping rebels here, aren’t you?” they screamed. “You’re giving them food.” Children cried as they watched while the rest of the crowd-men and women, babies strapped to their mothers’ backs, and elders-looked on with fear in their eyes.
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