In the mid-1980s, Emmanuel Jal was a seven year old Sudanese boy, living in a small village with his parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings. But as Sudan's civil war moved closer—with the Islamic government seizing tribal lands for water, oil, and other resources—Jal's family moved again and again, seeking peace. Then, on one terrible day, Jal was separated from his mother, and later learned she had been killed; 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.
But, remarkably, Jal survived, and his life began to change when he was adopted by a British aid worker. He began the journey that would lead him to change his name and 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, who is determined to tell his story and in so doing bring peace to his homeland.
THE VILLAGERS' VOICES rose louder and louder as they sang. Drums
thudded to greet us: the family of Simon Jok, the SPLA commander
who protected this village and the ones around it. Everyone
seemed so happy and I was too as I stood next...
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War Child - Trailer
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).Share This
Praise for War Child
“Disturbing and visceral...Jal tells his story in spare, direct, and searing prose that leaves nothing to the imagination and offers a close-up view of the damage done to the psyches of children turned into warriors.” —Library Journal
“Frank, unsparing...[A] searing portrait of a war-torn youth turned community advocate and role model.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Powerful...[an] intense personal story.” —Booklist
“There's no glamour here, no pitched battles, only unimaginable misery... Utterly grounded, specific and real... You'll come away from this book loving Emmanuel Jal.” —Washington Post
“Fast-paced...stark...a provocative challenge.” —The New York Times