Wednesday, September 14, 2016

War Child

"War Child" by Emmanuel Jal

This is not an easy book to read but informative.  The book is a memoir about Emmanuel Jal and his life as a child soldier in Sudan.  He talks about the war and how it came to his village, how his family continued to run from place to place to get away from the war.  His mother was killed and that is when he went to a refugee camp and there became a boy soldier.  He had such hate in his heart for the people that killed and displaced his family.  All other emotions were turned off as he was trained to feed that hate.  He did things that haunt him still.  He was saved by a British lady who paid for his schooling.  But he didn't do well in school as he had so much emotional baggage and because all he knew was fighting.  He found his relief in music, telling his story, and in remembering the God his mama taught him about.  He found forgiveness and turned that into helping other child soldiers find their way.  "Fear will always win against pain, and all I had to do was run."  "Love?  I must push down the feeling, crush it inside me just as I had when I was a young boy and war had taken everyone from me.  I knew how love once made me feel".  In war you can't afford to feel love, all emotions must be pushed down so as to survive.  Emmanuel Jal has found feeling these emotions again not an easy feat.  "It is time for me to tell my story using the music and lyrics that are my weapons now I have laid down guns and machetes forever."  His words, his story is now his weapon to bring about change.  "I'm still a soldier, fighting with my pen and paper, for peace till the day I cease."

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