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  • I just want to say my name is Emmanuel Jal.

  • And I come from a long way.

  • I've been telling a story that has been so painful for me.

  • It's been a tough journey for me, traveling the world,

  • telling my story in form of a book.

  • And also telling it like now.

  • And also, the easiest one was

  • when I was doing it in form of a music.

  • So I have branded myself as a war child.

  • I'm doing this

  • because of an old lady in my village now,

  • who have lost her children.

  • There is no newspaper to cover her pain,

  • and what she wants to change in this society.

  • And I'm doing it for a young man

  • who want to create a change and has no way to project his voice

  • because he can't write.

  • Or there is no Internet, like Facebook, MySpace,

  • YouTube, for them to talk.

  • Also one thing that kept me pushing this story,

  • this painful stories out, the dreams I have,

  • sometimes, is like the voices of the dead,

  • that I have seen

  • would tell me, "Don't give up. Keep on going."

  • Because sometime I feel like stopping and not doing it,

  • because I didn't know what I was putting myself into.

  • Well I was born in the most difficult time,

  • when my country was at war.

  • I saw my village burned down.

  • The world that meant a lot to me, I saw it

  • vanish in my face.

  • I saw my aunt in rape when I was only five.

  • My mother was claimed by the war.

  • My brothers and sisters were scattered.

  • And up to now, me and my father

  • were detached and I still have issues with him.

  • Seeing people die every day,

  • my mother crying,

  • it's like I was raised in a violence.

  • And that made me call myself a war child.

  • And not only that, when I was eight

  • I became a child soldier.

  • I didn't know what was the war for.

  • But one thing I knew

  • was an image that I saw that stuck in my head.

  • When I went to the training camp I say,

  • "I want to kill as many Muslims,

  • and as many Arabs, as possible."

  • The training wasn't easy, but that was the driving force,

  • because I wanted to revenge for my family.

  • I wanted to revenge for my village.

  • Luckily now things have changed

  • because I came to discover the truth.

  • What was actually killing us wasn't the Muslims,

  • wasn't the Arabs.

  • It was somebody sitting somewhere manipulating the system,

  • and using religion to get what they want to get out of us,

  • which is the oil, the diamond,

  • the gold and the land.

  • So realizing the truth gave me a position to choose:

  • should I continue to hate, or let it go?

  • So I happened to forgive. Now I sing

  • music with the Muslims. I dance with them.

  • I even had a movie out called "War Child,"

  • funded by Muslim people.

  • So that pain has gone out.

  • But my story is huge.

  • So I'm just going to go into a different step now,

  • which is easier for me.

  • I'm going to give you poem

  • called "Forced to Sin,"

  • which is from my album "War Child."

  • I talk about my story.

  • One of the journey that I tread

  • when I was tempted to eat my friend because we had no food

  • and we were like around 400.

  • And only 16 people survived that journey.

  • So I hope you're going to hear this.

  • My dreams are like torment.

  • My every moment.

  • Voices in my brain, of friends that was slain.

  • Friends like Lual who died by my side,

  • of starvation.

  • In the burning jungle, and the desert plain.

  • Next was I, but Jesus heard my cry.

  • As I was tempted to eat the rotten flesh

  • of my comrade,

  • he gave me comfort.

  • We used to raid villages,

  • stealing chickens, goats and sheeps,

  • anything we could eat.

  • I knew it was rude, but we needed food.

  • And therefore I was forced to sin,

  • forced to sin to make a living,

  • forced to sin to make a living.

  • Sometimes you gotta lose to win.

  • Never give up. Never give in.

  • Left home at the age of seven.

  • One year later, live with an AK-47 by my side.

  • Slept with one eye open wide.

  • Run, duck, play dead and hide.

  • I've seen my people die like flies.

  • But I've never seen a dead body,

  • at least one that I've killed.

  • But still as I wonder, I won't go under.

  • Guns barking like lightning and thunder.

  • As a child so young and tender,

  • Words I can't forget I still remember.

  • I saw sergeant command raising his hand,

  • no retreat, no surrender.

  • I carry the banner of the trauma.

  • War child, child without a mama,

  • still fighting in the saga.

  • Yet as I wage this new war I'm not alone in this drama.

  • No sit or stop, as I reach for the top

  • I'm fully dedicated like a patriotic cop.

  • I'm on a fight, day and night.

  • Sometime I do wrong in order to make things right.

  • It's like I'm living a dream.

  • First time I'm feeling like a human being.

  • Ah! The children of Darfur.

  • Your empty bellies on the telly and now it's you

  • that I'm fighting for.

  • Left home.

  • Don't even know the day I'll ever return.

  • My country is war-torn.

  • Music I used to hear was bombs and fire of guns.

  • So many people die that I don't even cry no more.

  • Ask God question, what am I here for.

  • And why are my people poor.

  • And why, why when the rest of the children were learning how to read and write,

  • I was learning how to fight.

  • I ate snails, vultures, rabbits,

  • snakes, and anything that had life.

  • I was ready to eat.

  • I know it's a shame. But who is to be blamed?

  • That's my story shared in the form of a lesson.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • What energized me and kept me going is the music I do.

  • I never saw anybody

  • to tell my story to them

  • so they could advise me or do therapy.

  • So the music had been my therapy for me.

  • It's been where I actually see heaven,

  • where I can be happy,

  • where I can be a child again, in dances, through music.

  • So one thing I know about music:

  • music is the only thing that has power

  • to enter your cell system,

  • your mind, your heart,

  • influence your soul and your spirit,

  • and can even influence the way you live

  • without even you knowing.

  • Music is the only thing that can

  • make you want to wake up your bed

  • and shake your leg,

  • without even wanting to do it.

  • And so the power music has

  • I normally compare to the power love

  • when love doesn't see a color.

  • You know, if you fall in love with a frog, that's it.

  • One testimony about how I find music

  • is powerful is when

  • I was still a soldier back then.

  • I hated the people in the north.

  • But I don't know why I don't hate their music.

  • So we party and dance to their music.

  • And one thing that shocked me is one day

  • they brought an Arab musician

  • to come and entertain the soldiers.

  • And I almost broke my leg dancing to his music.

  • But I had this question.

  • So now I'm doing music so I know what the power of music is.

  • So what's happening here?

  • I've been in a painful journey.

  • Today is day number 233

  • in which I only eat dinner.

  • I don't eat breakfast. No lunch.

  • And I've done a campaign called

  • Lose to Win.

  • Where I'm losing so that I could win

  • the battle that I'm fighting now.

  • So my breakfast, my lunch,

  • I donate it to a charity that I founded

  • because we want to build a school in Sudan.

  • And I'm doing this because also

  • it's a normal thing in my home, people eat one meal a day.

  • Here I am in the West. I choose not to.

  • So in my village now, kids there,

  • they normally listen to BBC, or any radio,

  • and they are waiting to know,

  • the day Emmanuel will eat his breakfast

  • it means he got the money to build our school.

  • And so I made a commitment. I say,

  • "I'm gonna not eat my breakfast."

  • I thought I was famous enough that I would raise the money within one month,

  • but I've been humbled.

  • (Laughter)

  • So it's taken me 232 days.

  • And I said, "No stop until we get it."

  • And like it's been done on Facebook, MySpace.

  • The people are giving three dollars.

  • The lowest amount we ever got was 20 cents.

  • Somebody donated 20 cents online.

  • I don't know how they did it.

  • (Laughter)

  • But that moved me.

  • And so, the importance of education to me

  • is what I'm willing to die for.

  • I'm willing to die for this,

  • because I know what it can do to my people.

  • Education enlighten your brain,

  • give you so many chances,

  • and you're able to survive.

  • As a nation we have been crippled.

  • For so many years we have fed on aid.

  • You see a 20-years-old, 30-years-old

  • families in a refugee camps.

  • They only get the food that drops from the sky, from the U.N.

  • So these people,

  • you're killing a whole generation if you just give them aid.

  • If anybody want to help us

  • this is what we need.

  • Give us tools. Give the farmers tools.

  • It's rain. Africa is fertile. They can grow the crops.

  • (Applause)

  • Invest in education.

  • Education so that we have strong institution

  • that can create a revolution to change everything.

  • Because we have all those old men

  • that are creating wars in Africa. They will die soon.

  • But if you invest in education

  • then we'll be able to change Africa.

  • That's what I'm asking.

  • (Applause)

  • So in order to do that,

  • I founded a charter called Gua Africa,

  • where we put kids in school.

  • And now we have a couple in university.

  • We have like 40 kids, ex-child soldiers

  • mixed with anybody that we feel like we want to support.

  • And I said "I'm going to put it in practice."

  • And with the people that are going to follow me and help me do things.

  • That's what I want to do to change,

  • to make a difference in the world.

  • Well now, my time is going,

  • so I want to sing a song.

  • But I'll ask you guys to stand up

  • so we celebrate the life of a British aid worker

  • called Emma McCune

  • that made it possible for me to be here.

  • I'm gonna sing this song,

  • just to inspire you how this woman has made a difference.

  • She came to my country and saw the importance

  • of education.

  • She said the only way to help Sudan