We had an amazing time last night at the screening of War Child, the documentary film of Emmanuel Jal's journey from child soldier to international hip-hop artist and now humanitarian. That anyone, let a lone a young boy, could survive what he did and come out the other side still intact mentally and physically is remarkable. That he is now a wise, humble, and caring man who is speaking up on behalf of the other former child soldiers in southern Sudan is beyond belief. Perhaps most astounding of all is the deep Christian faith he clings to despite the horrors he has experienced.
One thing I especially appreciated was Emmanuel's lack of political correctness. Having been there, experiencing it first-hand, I trust what he has to say; I believe his perspective is an accurate one. Last night he made a very bold statement that ought to cause us all to sit up and take note. When asked for his perspective on what needs to happen in Sudan (or the rest of Africa for that matter) to improve the dire situation people are facing every day, he replied that it was up to you and I, not governments, not politicians, and especially not the U.N. because they are only looking out for their own interests. In the film itself, Jal makes another bold statement, insisting that what the world needs is leaders who are committed to serve their people, not be served by them. Mr. Mugabe...are you listening?
If you haven't yet seen the film, I recommend you do so or pick up the book which tells his story in even more detail. If you like hip-hop, go buy his album Warchild or download it from iTunes immediately. If you want to support a great cause, check out Gua Africa, Emmanuel's charity to build a school near his original home in southern Sudan. And if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, don't pass up the opportunity. You will be inspired.