London-based former Sudanese child soldier, political advocate and hip-hop recording artist Emmanuel Jal is spearheading a political awareness campaign supported by George Clooney, Alicia Keys, Kofi Annan, Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel. The singer launched the digital download single “We Want Peace” on Monday 13th December 2010.

The song will be available to download from all leading digital download retailers or from the official website www.we-want-peace.com. Emmanuel Jal is encouraging people around the world to visit the official website, to become ‘peace soldiers’ and sign a peace awareness petition that will call for a timely, free and fair referendum in Southern Sudan and equality, freedom, and justice for all Sudanese.

“The main objective is for supporters from around the world to visit the official “We Want Peace” website and sign up to become ‘Peace Soldiers’," says Jal.

The politically aware, pro-peace, feel-good hip-hop anthem is timed for release during the build up to the Sudanese referenda on 9th January 2011. On this day the citizens of Southern Sudan and Abyei, as promised by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, will participate in referenda that will determine the fate of Sudan. This is being hailed as a significant date in the 2011 calendar, as political analysts around the globe are citing the potential of the birth of a new African nation in the making.

George Clooney recently appeared on “Good Morning America” to raise awareness about the possible renewal of civil ware in Sudan because of an impending vote for independence by the southern half of the African nation. Earlier this year Clooney returned from a week-long trip to Southern Sudan, a region that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls “a ticking time bomb.” Click here to view Clooney’s appearance on Good Morning America.

The Sudanese referenda is historically and politically significant, but also potentially dangerous given the North’s evident reluctance to part with the vast resources of the South and its penchant for achieving its objectives through extreme violence. It is only through intense and sustained pressure by the international community that the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei can hope to exercise their right to vote in free, fair and peaceful referendum.

“There are two goals to the We Want Peace campaign,” says Emmanuel Jal. “The first is to raise awareness about the referendum, and the second is to provide a way for people to respond.”

The song includes string arrangements by Peter Gabriel, who recorded his part at Real World Studios in Bath, Avon. To help raise awareness, the promotional video, directed by Peter’s daughter, Anna Gabriel, includes contributions from George Clooney, Alicia Keys, Richard Branson, Kofi Annan and former president, Jimmy Carter.

“I want the song to be widely available to organizations to incorporate into their own campaigns that support the referendum and the marginalized people of Sudan,” says Emmanuel Jal. “In addition, the theme and song could be carried over and used by organizations that provide basic services for the people of Sudan who have been displaced by genocide and war and who hope the referenda will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.”

Jal’s main objective is for the song to outlive the referenda and be used as a catalyst for peace in countries around the world. In 1985, Michael Jackson's “We Are the World” provided an outlet for people around the world to identify with and respond to a devastating famine that, in most cases, was thousands of miles away from their own personal experience.

“I believe that We Want Peace has a similar potential,” says Jal. “The Sudanese referenda may have little meaning for many people living outside of Africa. However, everyone longs for freedom, justice and peace during these turbulent times. Given the opportunity, ‘We Want Peace’ is a plea for peace that will tap into the hopes that we share universally while mobilising the world to respond to the immediate needs of the Sudanese people.”

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