Today, while in Oxfam picking up some Christmas essentials, I also purchased Ceasefire, an album by Emmanuel Jal and Abdel Gadir Salim.
Emmanuel Jal perfomed at Greenbelt this summer (though I missed him). He also performed at the Live 8 do dah in Cornwall. The two artists are both originally from Sudan, though from the opposing sides in the civil war there. As the comprehensive album notes say, both artists have been deeply affected by the civil war. Jal was a child soldier and Abdel Gadir Salim narrowly survived a brutal stabbing.
I can't really imagine what either of those experiences would be like. To type it so easily doesn't really do justice to either man's experience. Reading some of the lyrics (they're available through the above link), reminded me of what a screwed up world this is, what a mess we've made of stuff. But in the lyrics there is also a sense of hope, a sense of 'what if', a sense that things could be better. Listening as two men, one Christian, one Muslim, perform together, reflecting on what that symbolises, you get a glimpse of that hope.
Go buy it, or at least check out the lyrics.
Inside the album cover there's a striking picture of a while Make Poverty History wristband on a black persons wrist. Sometimes I really can't believe how unfair the world is. I've been in school again this week, answering (or at least trying) young people's questions about God and stuff, including questions about suffering. I just don't get how we (I say we cos I know I'm guilty) can think that it is fair, right, 'Christian' that there is such inequality in the world. How can I as Christian talk about peace and love over Christmas time, when there is such oppression, inequality and neglect going on in the world? When I am oppressing others, by the products I buy, the decisions I don't challenge, and the things I let go cos I just can't be bothered to do anything.