Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal is a Sudanese musician and former child soldier. His single "Warchild" was released ear

Does art make a difference?
Of course, because it speaks to your mind, your soul and spirit. Sometimes words are not needed and the simplicity of expressing yourself through an art form is one of the best ways of communication.

Should politics and art mix?
When there is a need, they should mix. In times of war, starvation, hunger and injustice, such tragedy can only be put aside if you allow yourself to be uplifted through music, film and dance. It can be used to communicate messages to the masses and create awareness, to influence the people positively. A perfect example is Bob Marley: his message is still being heard today.

Is your work for the many or for the few?
It’s for those who have ears.

If you were world leader, what would be your first law?
Everybody would have the right to worship whatever god they choose to. Equality, freedom of speech and expression.

Who would be your top advisers?
I would look for like-minded people, such as Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Diana.

What, if anything, would you censor?
Violent video games and movies; pornography; and some celebrities.

If you had to banish one public figure, who would it be?
Omar el-Bashir, the current president of Sudan.

What are the rules that you live by?
Do not to others what I would not like done to myself. Love and respect every walk of life and be as honest as possible. I get my strength from loving my God with all my heart and soul.

Do you love your country?
Yes, and it breaks my heart to have to witness what is going in Sudan.

Are we all doomed?
Yes, because we are destroying our own environment and we are too materialistic. Everything we knew in the past to be wrong is now seen as right. We have enough money to fund wars, but there is none to feed the poor. People’s hearts have grown cold. Love is gone. We lack role models who can inspire our young people to make change.

This article first appeared in the 28 April 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Everybody out!