As votes are counted in Sudan on a referendum to split the country in two, Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal has teamed up with a global "who's who" list to release a passionate new single - bluntly titled “We Want Peace.”
The accompanying music video opens with an appearance by Alicia Keys, followed by a string accompaniment written by Peter Gabriel. Jal raps expertly throughout the video as he takes you through the impoverished streets of southern Sudan. Even George Clooney pops in to throw up a peace sign. It ends with billionaire Sir Richard Branson, former U.N. General Secretary General Kofi Annan and former President Jimmy Carter all asking for peace.
Jal’s story is as inspiring as the video. Born in Southern Sudan during the civil war in the 80’s, he escaped the life of a child solider and was smuggled to Kenya. There, he discovered hip hop. He has been playing the dual role of artist and activist ever since. In 2005 he collaborated with northern Sudanese musician Abdel-Gadir Salim for the self-explanatory song “Ceasefire.” That message is just as relevant today.
While technically there is peace in Sudan right now, the situation is volatile. With the Darfur region to the west and the south potentially poised to secede, the tension in the entire country is palpable. Emmanuel Jal's message is that whatever the final results, it's peace that must prevail.