Title: War Child
Author: Emmanuel Jal
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
Set in: Sudan, Kenya
This book is the second book I’ve read on a Child Soldier. War Child is about 7 year old Jal or Emmanuel from Sudan who gets caught up in the war between Northern Sudan and Southern Sudan. His entire family is displaced, he gets sent to the Ethiopian refugee camp, gets recruited as a child soldier in the South Sudan Rebellion and eventually escapes war by getting to Kenya.
All I can say is I probably couldn’t endure even half of what this kid has endured and come out of it sane. It’s harrowing, heartbreaking and honest. Always honest. I’m surprised that he could even talk about some of the events in his life.
After he escapes to Kenya, his life is not a bed of roses suddenly. He describes how difficult it is to assimilate these aimless Lost Boys of Sudan to normal life. I’m amazed by his dedication towards the cause. The fact that he could perform in a huge concert, earn a decent amount of money and still have no place to sleep at night because he has donated all the money to the organization is what blows me away.
This book made me angry. Why can’t people just stop killing each other? Is money, power, oil, religion, pride so important that it turns them into killing machines without a thought of what they are doing to their countries and their own families? Jal doesn’t have any answers to those either. But he still has hope that if people work together they can achieve peace.