Emmanuel Jal - a former child soldier from Sudan made this song with the help of celebrities and activists to raise awareness about the January 9th, 2011 referendum in Sudan that will decide whether or not Southern Sudan should remain a part of Sudan.
In his own words....
My country is on the brink of war. On January 9, Southern Sudan will vote for its independence to be free from a government who has slaughtered and displaced our people for 43 years. The country is currently led by a regime bent on controlling oil resources. 80% of Sudan's oil fields are in the south, making it a prime battleground to displace our indigenous people. Both north and south are preparing for war, leaving innocent people at grave risk of major human rights violations. The last civil war between North and South claimed over 2 million lives, including my own mother. I have firsthand experience as a war child, forced to fight in the conflict and torn from my family. The time to prevent another genocide is now. I have a written a new single called “We Want Peace”. It is a call for peace, protection and justice for all in my land, and also for an end to conflicts affecting innocent people all around the world. Thank you for joining me in my struggle.
You can help avert a genocide in Sudan by taking small steps that will make a big difference. By lobbying your government MPs and representatives, educating friends and family, planning a local event, or generating coverage in the media about the crisis, and spreading Emmanuel's message by downloading "We Want Peace", you will help build the political power needed to prevent this conflict with diplomacy and not bloodshed. Be a voice for the voiceless. Take Action.
If you prefer the non-celeb version:
This has to be said: I posted the track because I liked it (warm fuzzy feel and that) and because the proceeds from the song go to help those in need in Sudan, whether it's preventing boy soldiers or providing electoral aid or assistance to communities in need. The real effort to preventing genocide lies in the lobbying efforts of people or getting media attention for the situation in Sudan as Emmanuel Jal clearly states up top. Please don't confuse buying this single as an action that directly 'helps prevent genocide'. Buying a song or merchandise to fund peace projects doesn't prevent conflict from breaking out and seems a gross misunderstanding of the fact that political forces that create war and the solution to a clearly complex and volatile situation in Sudan cannot be reduced to buying a song or a t-shirt. Making peace requires direct engagement with warring factions and communities. Political settlements are not borne out of music singles or merchandise - not to say that protest music does not have it's place in conflict discourse, it does, but it's important to know precisely what role music plays. Let's be clear on that so don't go buy the single in the belief that you're actually 'preventing genocide.' None of that 'Save Darfur' feel-good campaign stuff please. There rant over, now you can go buy the single or donate knowing you're supporting the good work Emmanuel Jal is doing.
We Want Peace is now available on iTunes & Amazon (if you still mess with that.)