In the mid-1980s, Emmanuel Jal was a seven year old Sudanese boy living in a small village. But after his mother was killed and his father Simon rose to become a powerful commander in the Christian Sudanese Liberation Army, fighting for the freedom of Sudan. Soon, Jal was conscripted into that army, one of 10,000 child soldiers, and fought through two separate civil wars over nearly a decade.Orphaned and adrift, Jal lived through horror: marching through miles of desert toward Ethiopia, past the bones of adults and children who had fallen on the trek; witnessing the deaths of friends and family members; killing soldiers and civilians with a gun he could barely lift; starving to the point of near-cannibalism, and coming to the edge of suicide. Remarkably, Jal survived, and his life began to change when he was adopted by a British aid worker. He slowly began the journey that would lead him to music: recording and releasing his own album, which produced the number one hip-hop single in Kenya, and from there went on to perform with Moby, Bono, Peter Gabriel, and other international music stars.Shocking, inspiring, and finally hopeful, War Child is a memoir by a unique young man determined to tell his story and in so doing bring peace to his homeland.Emmanuel Jal is prominently featured in the forthcoming film THE GOOD LIE, opening September 10, 2014 in NYC, LA & Toronto.
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18th Street Films presents War Child, a feature documentary film on Emmanuel Jal, former South Sudanese child soldier turned international hiphop sensation (ER, Blood Diamond, Live8).
Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Emmanuel Jal's memoir War Child: A Child Soldier's Story. In the mid-1980s, Emmanuel Jal was a seven-year-old Sudanese boy living in a small village. But then his mother was killed and his father Simon rose to become a powerful commander in the Christian Sudanese Liberation Army, fighting for the freedom of Sudan. Soon, Jal was conscripted into that army, one of 10,000 child soldiers, and fought through two separate civil wars over nearly a decade.
EMMANUEL JAL lives in London. His music has been featured in the movie Blood Diamond, the documentary God Grew Tired of Us, and in three episodes of ER. He is a spokesman for Amnesty International and Oxfam, and has done work for Save the Children, UNICEF, World Food Programme, Christian Aid, and other charities, and has established his own charitable foundation, Gua Africa, to help former Sudanese child soldiers. He has been featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, the Washington Post, Newsweek.com, and on NPR, CNN, Fox, MTV, and the BBC. A documentary about Jal’s life, also called War Child, premiered to acclaim at the February 2008 Berlin Film Festival and the April 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. His first U.S. album War Child was released in May 2008.
Emmanuel JalMegan Lloyd Davies