Buk Arop, president of the Edmonton-based South Sudan Development Foundation, says that Emmanuel Jal, the award-winning South Sudanese hip hop artist, activist, and actor, is stoking the South Sudanese Civil War. To hear my interview with Jal, download episode 021.
Like Jal, Arop is a so-called “lost boy”--a person who lost his childhood to the Sudanese Civil War. Born in 1981, Arop entered the Pinyudo Refugee Camp in Ethiopia where the Sudan People’s Liberation Army conscripted him as a child soldier.
When the Ethiopian regime fell in 1991, ten year old Arop and all the other refugees were forced to leave on foot. He arrived in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp in 1992, where he stayed until the year 2000. Then, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees nearly sent him to Norway, but at the last moment switched his destination to Canada, where Arop earned a BA in International Development Studies and an MA in Cultural Studies.
Today Arop speaks five languages and works with immigrant youth in Edmonton. He’s also the Secretary General for Abyei Youth Association in Diaspora.
While Emmanuel Jal spoke to youth across Alberta as part of a John Humphrey Centre-sponsored tour, he made remarks that Buk Arop denounced on Twitter: “Emmanuel Jal, a peace soldier beating South Sudanese war drums. Is Ban Kimoon et al aware?”
I spoke with Buk Arop on April 17, 2015 at the University of Alberta campus to ask him about what Jal was saying and why he objected.
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My acclaimed novel The Alchemists of Kush is about two Sudanese lost boys. Click here for reviews, videos, text, and audio about the book, and to order the paperback or ebook.