Voice of the unheard & home to the homeless
Front Page  عربى
المنبر العام
 Latest News
 Articles and Analysies
 Press Releases
 Photo Gallery
 About Sudan
  Sudanese Music
  Sudanese Links
  Discussion Board
  2006 News Archives
  2006 Articles Archives
  2006 Press R.Archives
  2005 News Archives
  2005 Articles Archives
  2005 Press R.Archives
  PC&Internet Forum
  Poll System
  Tell A Friend
  Upload Your Picture
  Contact Us


Latest News الصفحة العربية Last Updated: Feb 13, 2011 - 7:24:29 AM

China, hip-hop and the new Sudan

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
Follow sudanesewebtalk on Twitter

China, hip-hop and the new Sudan

Hong Kong, China (CNN) -- For former child soldier and Sudanese hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal, Hong Kong's five-star Mira Hotel is just a bit too comfortable.

"If it's too comfortable, I can't sleep properly," says Jal, recalling his days on the frontline of Sudan's bitter civil war. "I remember those nights I slept on battlefields with the sound of war all around me ... tat, tat, tat, boom!"

"Of course, then you were never really asleep," he adds

Sitting in an African diner in Hong Kong's Chungking Mansions -- the center of a booming trade in cheap Chinese knock-off mobile phones to Africa -- the Sudanese rapper is now perfectly at home, if a little stunned by the bizarre cultural mix in the restaurant.

"Listen to the waitress," he marvels at a woman taking orders. "She's Chinese and speaks English with a perfect Nigerian accent. It's incredible!"

Jal, in Hong Kong as part of the Make A Difference conference, a Hong Kong-based youth network, says his trip to China comes at a critical juncture for his country.

Southern Sudan's official referendum results, due to be announced this Sunday, are likely to show an overwhelming majority in favor of separating from the predominantly Arab north. Jal, who once supported a unified Sudan, wrestled with his own decision about the vote.

"Unity was not made attractive," he says, explaining why he changed his mind. "Nothing changed after the peace agreement (of 2005)."

"You have a government that declared jihad against the people in Southern Sudan and has set up a system based on wrong foundations. A first-class citizen is a Muslim Arab and a second-class citizen is his wife, a third-class citizen is an African who has converted to Islam and a fourth-class citizen is his wife. A fifth-class citizen is a non-believer and a sixth class citizen is his wife.

"I voted for separation because I want to be a first-class citizen in my own country."

With Southern Sudan on the cusp of nationhood, China is now the focus of its hopes and Hong Kong's fabled Chungking Mansions, a labyrinth-like building in Kowloon and the unofficial African quarter of Hong Kong, the perfect metaphor for the future of both Africa and China.

"The Chinese don't influence our politics," says Jal. "They don't comment on it, and what they want, they pay for -- sometimes double the amount. This tends to make all Africans happy -- from the dictators to the democrats," he adds wryly.

"There isn't a party in Africa that doesn't like them. Even if you're a rebel movement and you say to them you can secure gold, the Chinese will simply say they want to buy it.

"The only foreign policy advice I heard from China was when they said to Sudan, 'Don't go back to war.' That's all they said. They didn't push anything else."

Sudan has barely known peace throughout the 31-year-old rapper's life and Jal says he's too young to remember peace in Sudan.

"I saw my home burned down. At the age of 5 I saw my aunt raped in front of me. All my aunties died in the war, including my mum. All my uncles died in the war except two. I saw my mother beaten in front of me and racially abused," he says.

Eventually sent to Ethiopia ostensibly to be schooled -- a terrifying journey in which the ferry in which he was traveling capsized killing hundreds of other similarly displaced children -- Jal was soon recruited by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) who used the schools as a front for their training camps.

"When I made it to Ethiopia, I was given the opportunity to train as a child soldier, and I didn't think twice," he says. "I wanted revenge for my family. I wanted to know who killed my mother."

Fighting in four major battles between the ages of 7 and 12, Jal's only true companion was an AK-47.

"You tended not to make friends -- it just messed with your head. And even now I don't really make deep friendships," he says, plowing diffidently through a plate of goat and okra in Chungking Mansions.

The hardship of life in the SPLA still carries its scars, both physically and emotionally, although Jal retains a residual respect for a rebel movement that operated on a meager $4 million a year.

"We were trained properly in the SPLA. We were lucky that we were not given drugs or alcohol -- in fact, it was banned," Jal says. "We were disciplined properly to protect the image of the movement."

Nevertheless, the demands of combat took a heavy toll. The long marches, the heavy loads of ammunition and the sleeplessness still affect him today in the form of migraines and flashbacks.

"The most difficult thing was that you didn't know when you were going to die," he says. "For me, my biggest fear was being injured. I didn't want to get shot in the eye or the leg or any other place that would leave me disabled.

"The thought I had was if I'm going to get shot, just finish me off completely. Just please God, let me get out of this!"

He escaped the rebel movement at the age of 12, deserting with some 400 other soldiers in a three-month ordeal in which minefields, government troops, wild animals and eventually thirst and starvation claimed all but a dozen survivors who staggered into the town of Waat.

It was there that he was picked up by British aid worker Emma McCune who smuggled the child soldier to Kenya where he was schooled and where his music career began.

Now with several international hits under his belt -- including the hit single "Gua" which means peace in Southern Sudan's Nuer language -- Jal says that music is his main weapon and his fame the best way of bringing peace to the new Sudan.

"One thing that has been done by the international community is that they have created noise and created awareness and they've put Sudan in the spotlight and that has reduced the tension.

"The pressure from outside really helped," he says referring to the high-profile campaigning of actors like George Clooney. "Because no bad guys want to be seen doing bad things -- they want to do it in the dark."

Whether the referendum will bring lasting peace to Southern Sudan still remains to be seen and Jal says that while he voted for separation, it's too early to start celebrating.

The only way forward, he says, is through education. His Gua Africa charity -- a foundation which he established three years ago to help Sudanese communities overcome the effects of war and poverty -- has just completed its first school project; a labor of love in which the former child soldier vowed to eat just one meal a day until the project was completed.

"I don't know anywhere where the people are hungrier for education than South Sudan," he says.

Jie Chen contributed to this report

© Copyright by SudaneseOnline.com

Please feel free to send us your Articles , Analysies news and press releases to [email protected]

Top of Page

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of Sudanese Online.com

اخر الاخبار
  • الاتحاديون.. فرقة لا تبشّر بوحدة
  • مركز دراسات الهجرة بجهاز المغتربين ينظم منتداه الشهري الثالث عن الحراك السكاني
  • وزير الدفاع:لا أستبعد ضربات اسرائيلية أخرى.
  • ديبي يعلن إنطلاق الإنتخابات الرئاسية في تشاد .. والمعارضة تتوعده بمصير القذافي وبن علي
  • والي الجزيرة يقر ببعض الفساد ويكشف عن تدابير في فضيحة دريم لاند
  • الجنوب كسب براءته العقوبات الأمريكية...الشمال مسلسل فشل رفعها مستمر
  • العدل والمساواة تؤكد سيطرتها على منطقة وادي هور وتنفي تواجد قوات الحكومة بها
  • رئيس حركة العدل والمساواة "القيادة الثورية ":السلام خيارنا الاستراتيجي وعلى أتم الاستعداد للجلوس للتفاوض متى تلقينا الدعوة من الوساطة
  • اعتصام اللاجئين السودانيين أمام مفوضية اللاجئين بالقاهرة
  • مأساة 450 دارفوري عالقين في السلوم خوفا من بطش الأمن السوداني .
  • بروفسور حامد تيجاني:النظام السوداني يسعى بكل قوته لتفكيك الدولة للحصول على شرعية دوليه تمكنه من الاستمرار في القمع والبطش
  • أحمد هارون يشرع في تنفيذ تخصصه : احراق سبعة أطفال وثلاث نساء مسنات داخل بيوتهم
  • ممثل حكومة الجنوب في واشنطن يلتقي الرئيس الكيني
  • الرابطة العالمية بأمريكا تشجب وتدين الهجوم الغادر الذى نفذته مليشيات حزب المؤتمر الوطنى فى قرى بجبال النوبة
  • محلل اقتصادي: تعاون جنوب السودان في مكافحة الإرهاب وراء إعفائه من العقوبات الأمريكية
  • العدل والمساواة ترفض الدعوة الإفريقية لحسم منبر الدوحة نهاية الشهر
  • المحــبوب عبد الســـلام: الأمثل للسودان أن نوحد البرامج ونقربها
  • النائب العام المصري يقرر حبس مبارك ونجليه في اتهامات بالفساد المالي وقتل الثوار
  • جاتكوث يشن هجوما عنيفا على هارون.. ويصفه بالمجرم الهارب من وجه العدالة
  • المحبوب عبد السلام: السودان في خطر والحزب الحاكم فوضوي
  • الحكومة الأميركية تعلن عن أن دولة السودان الجنوبي لن تخضع للعقوبات الإقتصادية الأميركية بعد التاسع من يوليو القادم
  • وصال المهدي: استجوبوه مرة واحدة، سألوه عن اسمه، فقال لهم نسيته!!
  • د.جبريل: رأس النظام إنفصالي من الدرجة الأولى و لن نكتفي بالتنديد حيال إستفتاء دارفور.
  • أكثر من 150 طالب جنوبي يعتصمون أمام مكتب حكومة جوبا بالقاهرة للمطالبة بمستحقات مالية متأخرة
  • تباين في الآراء حول صحة الإبقاء على قوات مشتركة مدمجة في أبيي ومناطق البترول
  • ممثل حكومة الجنوب في واشنطن يلتقي وزير الخدمات الطبية والأمين العام للحزب الحاكم في كينيا
  • السفارة السودانية في واشنطن: تقرير الخارجية الأميركية عن السودان غير مهني.. ولا يحتوي على قدر من المصداقية
  • السفير عبدالرحمن سرالختم فى لقاء تنويرى مع الصحفيين السودانيين بالقاهرة
  • وزير الاتصالات وتقانة المعلومات : مشروع الصحة الالكترونية ستتم تبعيته بالكامل لوزارة الصحة الاتحادية
  • تغطية ندوة منتدى التوثيق الشامل للمؤرخ الكبير ضرار صالح ضرار
  • مؤتمر أبناء دينكا تويج ميارديت العالمى الاول ـ ملبورن ـ أستراليا
  • الناطق الرسمي للعدل والمساواة :الحركة ملتزمة بعدم الحركة خارج مناطق سيطرتها.
  • حاكما ولايتي البحيرات وغرب الاستوائية يتوصلان لاتفاق سلام بشأن مايورديت
  • البرنامج الانتخابى للحزب الشيوعى السودانى منظقة جنوب كردفان
  • نيويورك:ندوة عن مستقبل السودان علي خلفية انفصال الجنوب - مطالب الجماهير ونداءات التغيير
  • تنبية هام إلي اللاجئين السودانيين بالقاهرة.
  • زيارة خاصة جداً لأسرة اللواء المعتقل تلفون كوكو
  • استكمالاً للانفصال القوات المسلحة تحزم حقائبها في رحلة العودة شمالاً
  • تقرير الخارجية الأميركية عن أوضاع حقوق الإنسان في العالم يكشف عن إنتهاكات خطيرة للحكومة السودانية
  • وفد من إئتلاف ثورة 25 يناير المصرية يصل الخرطوم اليوم
  • تقرير حول اللقاء الثاني لرابطة أبناء دار فور و المحكمة الجنائية الدولية بباريس
  • د. جبريل: ماذا سيفعل النظام إن عجز الغرب عن إزاحة القذاقي؟ و للنظام أصابع تنخر في عظام الجبهة الوطنية العريضة
  • نشرة جهاز المغتربين (1) لشهر ابريل 2011م
  • نائب رئيس حكومة جنوب السودان يغادر الى اديس ابابا غدا الاحد
  • لقاء للوطني مع الاقتصاديين يتحول إلى نقد عارم للسياسات الاقتصادية للحكومة
  • صحيفتي (اجراس الحرية) و (الميدان) تعلقان صدورهما احتجاجاً علي المصادرة
  • لضبط الحدود الحزام الأمني...تقليل تكلفة المراقبة بحفظ المنافع
  • محمد ابراهيم نقد:السودان (عضمه قوي) ولن (يتفرتق) إذا قامت ثورة شعبية
  • في عقد قران السيد المحجوب الميرغني : كتب صلاح الباشا من داخل مسجد السيد علي ببحري
  • تعيين اتحاد مؤقت لإدارة شئون كرة القدم في جنوب السودان
  • Latest News
  • Sudan's Abyei region awash with arms and anger
  • Military Helicopter Crash Kills Five in Darfur, Sudan Army Says
  • SUDAN: Lack of justice "entrenching impunity" in Darfur
  • The National Agency for Securing and Financing national Exports pays due attention to Nonpetroleum Exports
  • Vice President of the Republic to witness the launching of the cultural season in Khartoum state
  • Youth creative activities to be launched under the blessing of the president, Tuesday
  • Sudan's gold rush lures thousands to remote areas
  • South Sudan faces precarious start
  • Aid workers taken hostage in Darfur freed: U.N.
  • 19 People Killed In Clashes In Sudan's South Kordofan State
  • Headlines of major daily news papers issued in Khartoum today Thursday the 14th of April 2011
  • Minister review with Indonesian delegation Sudanese Indonesian petroleum cooperation
  • Bio-fuel experimental production launched in Sudan
  • Center for Middle East and Africa's Studies organizes a symposium on intelligence activities in Sudan
  • South Sudan Activists Say : Women Need Bigger Role
  • 'One dead' as army helicopter crashes in Khartoum
  • Vice President receives new Algerian ambassador the Sudan
  • A training military plane crashes killing one of the three crew on board
  • Headlines of major daily papers issued in Khartoum today Wednesday the 13th of April 2011
  • Minister of Defense announces some precautious measures to secure Port Sudan
  • Industry Minister Meets Ambassadors of Central Africa, South African Republic
  • Sudan has 'irrefutable proof' Israel behind air strike
  • Taha Affirms Government Concern over Youth Issues
  • Headlines of major news papers issued in Khartoum today Monday the 11th of April 2011
  • NCP: statements by the US Secretary of State and the new envoy an attempt to justify the American hostility
  • Two Sudan papers stop publishing, protest censorship
  • Helicopters, tanks deployed in volatile Sudan area
  • State minister at the ministry of oil meets the delegation of the Gulf company for metal industries
  • Headlines of major daily news papers issued in Khartoum today Sunday the 10th of April 2011
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Sudan possess solid proof of Israeli involvement in the aggression on the country
  • Defense Minister visits Port-Sudan
  • Somali pirates hijack German vessel
  • Family denies assassination of key Hamas figure in Sudan
  • President Al-Bashirr, First VP Kiir Agree to Implement Agreement on Security Situation in Abyei as of Friday
  • DUP Denounces Israeli air strike on Port Sudan Vehicle
  • SBA Calls for especial Economic Relations with South Sudan State
  • Sudan-Brazil Sign Animal Wealth Protocol
  • Netanyahu vague on Sudan strike
  • seven Killed In New Clashes In South Sudan
  • Sudan's government crushed protests by embracing Internet
  • Hamas official targeted in Sudan attack, Palestinians say