Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Child Soldiers in Sudan: The WAR CHILD Emmmanuel Jal

A documentary exploring the Sudanese civil war which erupted in 1983-- through the eyes of a hip-hop star who was forced to fight as a child. This 2008 film begins with some history: The Arab-dominated government of the north fought against the Christian and Animist rebels of the south. Two Million died; four Million were displaced. During the two decades of the war, over 10,000 child soldiers were used. Here is a site about Jal's movement for peace: iamboigenius we-want-peace

[ How to force children to kill:
A  most horrifying depiction,
 which deepened my understanding of the psychological aspects
 of this unbearable crime --occurred 
when i watched the Movie,
Blood Diamonds. I am still traumatized whenever i think of it. ]

War Child  shows how "his powerful songs reveal his very complex feelings about one of the world's overlooked tragedies"   -- The former first lady of southern Sudan, Garang, said of Emmanuel, "There are people fighting who are using the guns; there are people fighting who are using the songs...
HERE is a 52 minute docu on youtube.

HERE is a Wiki page on Emmanuel Jal.

And HERE IS a history of the Sudanese lost boys:
  • "Experts say they are the most badly war-traumatized children ever examined..."

As i watch this documentary, it is a constant back and forth of hope/forgivness and overwhelming psychological pain/bitterness.

Jal describes how things began-the arab government came and destroyed everything;
Burnt the fields.
killed the cattle, kill the families.
Mass murders.

His village saw food aid falling from the sky--
he remembers "we would run for it and find big bags which said, 'USA' and in my heart i said one day i would go to America..."

 (Regarding America, he was so impressed with how we can criticize the President..."the way people make fun of george bush, he doesn't mind...if you do that in africa, you are asking to die...")
"My prayer is for the day when our leaders are more willing to serve their people, than to be served..."

He spoke of the great hunger they endured,
 that even other people started to smell like food so he prayed to Jesus to bring food.

He does not pull punches as he describes the various battles, exterior and interior, which he and his young friends encountered and endured.
 The power in a gun.
 The rapes of little girls. Not one-time events. The desperation to eat. 
 They remain grateful to God "for being lifted up" out of misery.

"I have so many scars... the internal injuries..."--the source of his music today.
"I've been a refugee all my life..."  haunted by a terrible memory re: father issues...

His prayer was: "God, if there is anything You can do,
do not let my grandmother die before i can become a Blessing to her..." His return to her in Sudan--hearing her speak, she seemed like every women, like my grandmother...

What do you remember from 1980-2000 regarding Sudan? What did you do, or your church, or your neighborhood, or your government? (What did the U.N. do?)

"...Reinhardt speaks about Sudan by James Nachtwey throughout the writing. He seems to end at a negative place from my reading, (though I think I misunderstood since the photo made the cut in the show). In the photograph, a famine-emaciated man accepts hydration salts from a disembodied hand with reaches into the frame from a place close to the photographer. This works to equate the act of viewing the photograph with the act of offering assistance. Reinhardt suggests that this creates a “confused humanitarianism, in which the ‘intention is to acknowledge the outcast as a human being,’ while the ‘effect is to treat the human being as an outcast ‘”[32].
from this fascinating site

More about Sudan:
In Fall 2009
 K-State brought Simon Deng to campus, who told his story: HERE
excerpt ..." A former child slave and human rights activist from Sudan spoke to hundreds of students at the K-State Student Union Tuesday night. Simon Deng, who has spoken before the United Nations, was the first guest in this year's Lou Douglas Lecture Series. Deng's speech focused on his experience as a slave, the countless injustices and murders committed by the Sudanese government against its people and the need for people to act as the voice for victims of genocide and human rights violations who have no voice of their own.
Deng became a slave at the age of nine when he was abducted by an Arab neighbor and taken to northern Sudan where he was given to an Arab family as "a gift." Deng's traumatic enslavement lasted three and a half years. Despite being a child, he was forced to work continually and was frequently required to do things no child should: He only could eat table scraps left after the family had eaten, was beaten regularly and was forced to sleep in a barn with the family's animals.
"I was constantly kept under terror, being tortured even though I'd done nothing wrong," Deng said. "That is what it means when I talk about I'm being robbed of my dignity as a human being. I'm turned into a piece of property."

 i think at the time, Sam Brownback and Al sharpton were the only 2 suits pushing for darfur in wsh dc.
i was looking for simon deng stuff and found this peice of a letter i'd written:
"... to use a Simon Deng analogy, where is the World's Lifeguard?
that is, the one who will spring to action
 in emergencies, without all the committees' delays and debating sanctions etc while people die?--that was to be the united nations - now corrupt and dysfunctional. thousands of voices need to be lifted for change and action. Kansans have a politician, sam brownback, who has worked hard in this area. he should be deluged with requests to hammer on this. especially since
he is leaving the senate anyway
--push Sam push!!...
i obviously
 never finished that draft... the
waxing and waning of energy, urgency, and sloth ...
that's why you need a really fine dayplanner.

 Darfur: Twenty Years of War and Genocide in Sudan 

The photo of a little Sudanese girl crawling toward a food camp.


More regarding AFRICA click HERE


  1. Wow! Look at the last pic. Looks like the photographer's salary is more important than other things. Things which I believe are obvious.

    1. You do know that the photographer committed suicide shortly after this picture was taken right? He definitely did not have a "salary" or at least the sustainable kind you think he had.

  2. You do realize that this was retaliation for the Sudan massacre of Arabs right? Not saying that this sort of retaliation is right, but if you're going to write about it, do it right and tell every side of the story.

  3. To tell every side of every story is called history. And many stories are fraught with error. I am talking about the here and now in this moment, not to judge but to encourage those who can to act to end violence and suffering. I hope comments like yours will encourage others to study history.

  4. anonymous-- the photographer killed himself a short time later. story here

  5. Of course, blame the Arabs for all your misfortune. That seems to be the style these days. Everyone needs a scapegoat.

  6. I would like to hear more about what you mean by this last comment, anonymous. Throughout history, various groups are "blamed" for their terrible acts--blaming the nazis for mass murder of jews, homosexuals, mentally handicapped, etcetc-
    "blaming" stalin for his butchery, pol pot for his genocide, etc.
    People in power in certain Catholic regions are blamed for terrible oversight of abusive priests. U.S. Congress is blamed for serving lobbyists rather than voters.
    And although history is rewritten falsely in many cases, there are enough personal stories that the truth will out.
    In this particular post, i was providing a view of a documentary i had watched, and some photography of the situation.
    One of the most important parts of Bad Behavior -and in avoiding later being stereotyped--is that people of the group which is offending must stand up and condemn the behavior of their own people.
    That is, Good Catholics must condemn both the horror of abuse and the covering up. Germans must condemn both the atrocity of the Nazi regime and the complacency or assistance of the german people. ProLife groups condemn murdering abortionists. ProEnvironmentalists condemn burning down occupied factories.
    People must say they are sorry,
    There must be apologies.
    When i first studied how the Native American groups were treated by the incoming euro groups, i was driven to depression and anger. And Slavery in america- who could bear reading about it? My parents made us study it, look at it, talk about it. On the other hand, Native American groups were horrible to each other, often. African groups were terrible to each other, often. Euro groups were terrible to each other, often. The treatment of WOMEN on this planet by men in power or cultures in power is pure insanity.
    So, let the truth out.
    You--Surely --you are not saying in your comment,that "Arabs" have nothing to apologize for?
    Whose "misfortune" are you referring to in your comment?
    I have no prejudicial ax to grind.
    Just gimme the truth:



  7. Darfur: Twenty Years of War and Genocide in Sudan
    this photo is not from Darfur because this kind of people don't leave in Darfur but in South of Africa please don't publish photos that not true

  8. all of you talking about some things that you don't see it on your own eyes
    that us government trying to keep people blind about what happen in us self
    wake up and see what gonna happen around you

  9. Well, I would like to hear more. I am listening.

  10. Thank you so much im in my class and we have to right stuff about this thank you for helping me.

  11. nw the whole world spending trillians of money on sports and other useless things,,, they should use that money on that people who suffer this illness ... we need to supprot them throught by any thinhg wch we can give ....

  12. Yes when light and love reign,
    our actions are significantly different than when selfishness and materialism comfort us...

  13. hi im kamal from malaysia

  14. malditos millonarios si todos ellos pusieran un porcentaje para esta pobre gente no hubiera tanta miseria...

    1. pero se nos olvida que esos millonarios solo trabajan para tener más dinero, no para ayudar a los demás, sino para tener más y más. Por eso no se busca pasar de unas manos a otras la riqueza, sino cambiar el corazón de los que tiene, pero ¡casí imposible! ufhhh

  15. Frankly speaking, we can't pretend and in the name of being civil and rational not apportion blame. it is not news that northern sudan has a case to answer. Can it be coincidence or some grand conspiracy? arabs and arab-leaning cultures are intolerant and violent.
    Again i ask, could it be coincidence, the violent activities linked to this region and people or just some conspiracy against them?

    1. Not to look at the truth and as many facts as can be found is indeed a fools's response. Nonetheless, regarding conspiracies: of course there is conspiracy. The ultimate one is darkly convincing the humans to satisfy their carnal desires and feed the selfish wolf. Seek power and revenge. Nurse hurts.
      Every region and people have the temptations and pitfalls most suited to them. If not war and infantile fighting, then sloth and gluttony and pride. The conspiracy cannot, however, succeed over love, meekness, and gentle spirits found at the foot of light, at calvary.

  16. Europeans ethically are responsible about what had happened. Look into any problem world wide, you will find that originally is created by them.
    Did u ask yourself these questions?
    Why they came to Africa?
    Why they took Africans to Americas?
    Who brought Jewih to Palestine?
    Who drove Palestinians out of their homeland?
    Why white came to Australia?
    Where are the aborigines of Australia?
    why they came to India??
    Where are the red Indians?
    Who was behind the two world wars?
    who invade Afghanistan?
    Who invade Iraq?

    Any problem in this word there is a white European behind

    1. I do not divide the humans into groups based on hue of skin. If i do i find that black has enslaved black. Yellow has hurt yellow. Red attacks and enslaves red. Worse, man hurts woman. Adults hurt children. I am embarrassed by and deeply hurt when pondering the crimes of my culture, the sins of my ancestors
      I do not understand what you are trying to convince me of. Europeans are involved in their hatreds and conspiacies. Yes. But corruption and hate and secrets and evil abound in every people. Sadness. You know who gets along? The australians with the native eskimos. They never fight.