CAN A WAR CHILD MOVE ON?
Posted by Jud Wilhite:
Emmanuel Jal is a survivor of war in Sudan, a self-proclaimed “war child.” As the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary (War Child, 2008), Jal has known extreme poverty, near death starvation and unspeakable pain. He was only seven years old when his mother was killed by government soldiers. His father abandoned him, he witnessed his aunt being raped, and several of his brothers and sisters claimed by the war as well.
In an attempt to escape the horrors of war, he joined thousands of other children in seeking refuge, but on his way he was captured, recruited and turned into a child soldier.
After spending seven years as a child soldier, he found refuge with an aid worker. Jal now uses hip-hop as a medium for his message of reconciliation, forgiveness, and peace.
What is important about his story is that Emmanuel refuses to hate. In his work, he is full of hope and forgiveness, spreading the message of peace and reconciliation. He campaigns tirelessly against gun proliferation and the use of children in war. Emmanuel fights for peace, forgiveness, and restoration; being a spokesman of a several justice organizations.
Jal, a devout Christian, started making music in 2000. He comments: “[I started singing] in church, because that’s where there was hope. I looked at my life and I said, ‘I've been in hell and I'm told there's another. Why choose that when I have another option?’ So I used to go to church and joined the gospel choir. We put on concerts in church and the school. Then I started to rap.”
When asked the question, “Do you find it ironic that rap music is often associated with guns and violence?” Jal gave a thoughtful and gracious response:
“I've seen those people. They have so much hatred and bitterness. A lot of them want to fight an enemy they can't see, so they end up being violent to anyone around. That's because they were slaves, in poverty and in a violent place. For me, I had the same violence, the same bitterness, but it changed. I was influenced by the Christian belief that you must forgive your enemy. But also by people like Nelson Mandela, he suffered so much but he still had to speak the word of peace and what he spoke is healing South Africa now. You have to give your enemy security, for them to trust you. Because they're insecure, they think you'll take what they have.”
In my life I have a hard time “moving on” with lots of things, particularly when someone has criticized or hurt my family.
What do you have a hard time “moving on” from?