Ex Child Soldier Turned Musician Rallies The World
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Former child soldier Emmanuel Jal, now an internationally renown musician and peace activist, is hoping the worldwide peace rallies taking place the past couple of days at Sudanese Embassies and other key locations will help focus attention on civilian protection and humanitarian aid in Sudan and stop its president Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir from destroying more lives.
Jal — who was born in South Sudan and has just opened a record label, Gatwich Records, in Canada to promote his album, See Me Mama (out Aug. 7), featuring the single, “We Want Peace” — says his country has never experienced peace during his 32 years. Two-and-a-half million people have died as a direct result of the war and displaced more than 5 million people since the 1980s.
Last year’s referendum vote led to the Republic of South Sudan separating from Sudan on July 9, 2011. Worried his country would go back to war, Jal started the We Want Peace campaign. There are still conflicts in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, Darfur, Abyei, and the Nubian areas of the North, over resources and other key issues relating to the division of the countries.
Jal has participated in many peace protests and initiatives and believes they make a difference.
“I've been involved in an ongoing arms trade treaty for Amnesty International who took our campaign and letter, together with Oxfam to the UN [United Nations], where I performed live,” Jal tells Samaritanmag. “Last week, we had another lobby where a petition was sent to the UN for final consideration. I've also been part of a coalition to stop the use of child soldiers and been asked to talk for Cinema for Peace and the ICC [Internation Criminal Court].”
We Want Peace 2012 Rallies are being held all over the world: Canada, America, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Kenya, Mexico, Costa Rica, UK, Peru, France and Australia, most on July 9, in recognition of the independence day last yea, some the day before.
Jal will be at the Toronto rally, at Queen’s Park from noon to 2 p.m.
According to the press release, it is “a peaceful congregation involving yoga, meditation, music, art and speakers” such as Jal, and representatives from the Alliance Against Modern Slavery, and Africa Yoga Project.
“As part of We Want Peace Campaign around the referendum, many fans wrote to their government asking for peaceful elections and the attention into South Sudan with the support of many high profile figures helped bring awareness about the voting and ensure that it was peaceful,” Jal tells Samaritanmag.
'The Toronto rally will involve fans and inspire people to write to their government and the UN to help bring protection to civilians and humanitarian assistance especially in those areas like the Nuba Mountains where the population is cut off at the moment from food and are being bombed from the air.
“I believe in putting a spotlight in a dark place and when you do the evil performs less. In countries like Norway, the WWP team has already had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and he is traveling to North and South Sudan. The country itself is involved heavily in promoting peace and working with the two countries.”
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.