"Forced to Sin" (03:54)
Emmanuel Jal served as a child soldier in the Sudan civil war; 2 million people died and 4 million were displaced. He performs a rap at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya. Jal lost his childhood as a result of the war. (Credits)
Jal was born in Tonj; Arabs captured the town after the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) formed. Jal's family escaped to Bentiu where his grandmother lived. He currently lives in London and feels as if he is the voice of the Sudanese people.
Jal's Childhood (03:12)
SPLA decreed that all children must relocate to Ethiopia to attend school. Jal recalls the boat sinking and only 50 people surviving. Officials told the children to walk to Ethiopia; he met a "magic" man who predicted his mother's death.
The southern Sudanese people felt marginalized. They wanted to worship freely and possess some civil rights. The SPLA did not have any strong allies.
Jal Arrives in Ethiopia (02:22)
Children from regional ethnic groups intermingled and Jal learned their languages. Watch footage of Jal as a child in Fugnido.
Soldier Training (02:15)
Children volunteered to train for the SPLA. Experts describe how these child soldiers did not see an alternative. Jal recalls how they would change the words to songs whenever the United Nations was present and would share their food with the soldiers.
Washington, DC (02:08)
Jal visits John Prendergast to get advice on raising international awareness. Prendergast explains that the genocide in Darfur is ignored because of economic interests. The United States receives intelligence from Omar al-Bashir about the al-Qaeda network.
After oil was discovered on the border, the conflict heightened. Prendergast describes how North Sudan uses the profits to fund the war and does not protect its citizens. Jal sings a song from his childhood.
High School Presentation (02:40)
Jal addresses students and explains how they are war children as well. One student asks if Jal ever killed anyone. In private, Jal reflects on a man he beat to death.
Ending of the Sudanese Civil War (02:38)
As a child, Jal hoped to fly an airplane, study in the daytime, and build an indestructible house. Ben Parker explains the stalemate that occurred in the war in Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement dictated that the Southern population could vote on independence.
Life as a Child Soldier (05:00)
Jal thought about committing suicide when food supplies ran out; many soldiers became cannibals. The child soldiers began to eat vultures and bats.
"Baaki Wara" (02:44)
The band prays before their performance. Jal wants to tell average civilians his story to empower them to change the government.
Heading Home (02:42)
Aid workers recorded Jal as a young boy talking about visiting his family and flying planes. Jal travels to Kakuma refugee camp. The driver receives a warning against traveling there.
Kakuma Refugee Camp (02:46)
Jal wanted to visit the camp because of the lost boys; children who trekked through the Sudan to escape the civil war and do not know their parents.
Watch images of daily life in the Kakuma refugee camp while Jal raps. After escaping the Sudanese army, Jal met Emma McCune in Waat; she smuggled him to Kenya.
Sally Dudmesh (02:59)
Jal visits Dudmesh and they reminisce about his first few months in Kenya. McCune tried to convince Riek Machar that boys should not fight in the war. She died in a car accident in 1993.
Chorus Sings for Jal (02:57)
After McCune died, Jal moved to the slums in Nairobi. He hands out food and speaks to the students of Kariobangi Community School; he hopes the students concentrate on their education.
"Taxi Driver" (03:31)
Jal introduces the production crew to an orphan he sponsors in Nairobi. Piyush Mehta gave Jal a scholarship to attend the Brookdale School during the 1990s. Jal never shared his history with fellow students.
Nyaruach's Story (04:52)
Jal rents a house where his relatives live in Nairobi. To get drinkable water, his sister needed to dive beneath dead bodies in the river. When Nyaruach traveled to Ethiopia, soldiers caught her and raped her multiple times.
Jal thanks the congregation at Kileleshwa Community Church for their support and prepares to journey to Sudan. He joined the choir and learned how to compose music.
Jal travels to Juba and meets Lam and JKP; they collaborated with him on a song about their shared experience as child soldiers. At the Juba market, Jal tells a child worker he needs to go to school.
Southern Sudan Capital (03:13)
Honorable Gatkuoth Duop Kuich gives a tour. Jal compares outcomes of making fun of the president of the United States and the president of Sudan. Rebecca Garang gave a speech advocating for peace in 2005.
"Gadir Salim" (02:12)
Soldiers executed JKP's father because he refused to give up his wives. When Jal was a child soldier, he wanted to kill as many Muslims as possible. He collaborated with Abdel Gadir Salim on the album "Crossfire."
"War Child" (02:08)
In Sudan, there is different music for different occasions. Jal meets two traditional musicians and then travels to Bentiu to reunite with his family.
"Africa Awei" (03:18)
Jal arrives at the nearest airport and travels to the village he grew up in. His grandmother made alcohol to support the family; she was beaten and thrown in jail.
Jal's Father (02:58)
Jal was supposed to visit his father first and together they would visit his grandmother; the family dances in the streets to escort him to his father. Simon Jal Gatwich lives with four wives and last saw this son in 1980.
Parental Issues (02:42)
Jal does not understand why his father did not come for him after the ship capsized. His grandmother used to keep photographs of his mother in a box but it got lost. Only one of her children survived the Sudanese civil war.
Strongest Warriors (02:17)
Jal and his family sing a song about Sudan. His grandmother keeps a photograph of him and McCune in the home. Jal visits his benefactor's grave in Leer.
Gua Africa (05:05)
Jal began the foundation dedicated to building a school in Leer. McCune rescued 150 child soldiers. Watch a video of Jal learning as a child.
Credits: War Child (02:34)
Credits: War Child
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