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Book Title: War Child: A Child Soldier's Story|
The author of the book: Emmanuel Jal
ISBN 13: 9780312383220
Edition: St. Martin's Press
Date of issue: February 3rd 2009
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 478 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.9
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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 Sudanâ€™s civil war moved closerâ€”with the Islamic government seizing tribal lands for water, oil, and other resourcesâ€”Jalâ€™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.
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Read information about the authorEmmanuel Jal has no fixed record of when, exactly, he was born, but he is fairly sure that he was about seven years old when he was recruited as a child soldier in his native Sudan. He didn't need much persuading to join: three years previously, his father, a police officer, disappeared at the onset of the country's second civil war (raging from 1983 to, despite the 2005 peace agreement, this very day), and his mother had just been killed in the conflict. Hellbent on revenge, Jal very much wanted to represent the Sudan People's Liberation Army because, as he explains, "no one else in the world was going to help us".
From a vantage point of some 20 years, Jal still harbours fond memories of the SPLA. "Unlike many armies that have children," he says, "the SPLA trained us well." He recounts that the training lasted a full year, in which time he was taught how to cook, camp and how to be handy with both spears and AK-47s. "By the time they sent us out to battle, we couldn't wait. My friends, my family members, had been murdered; I wanted to kill as many Muslims and Arabs as I could."
Two decades on, the fact that Jal escaped with his life is just one remarkable aspect in what has come to be a remarkable life. Now in his late twenties – he estimates 28 – this strikingly good-looking young man has settled in London, and become intent on telling his story, not just once but over and over again. Today, he is a rapper, an author and even the subject of a documentary film. "I believe I have escaped for a reason," he says, quoting the title track of his forthcoming album, Warchild. "To tell my story, to touch lives."
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