Emmanuel Jalis a South Sudanese-Canadian musician, former child soldier, and political activist. His autobiography, War Child: A Child Soldier's Story, was published in 2009...
A lot of child soldiers lose their minds.
I'm still a soldier, fighting with my pen and paper for peace till the day I cease.
When you see a Sudanese walking on the street, there is a story.
Any child soldier has to go through a lot of love, care and understanding to become normal.
I'm kind of weird - I don't get excited. Sometimes I fake that I'm excited just to make people happy.
There's no pride in having been a child soldier.
Sometimes words are not needed, and the simplicity of expressing yourself through an art form is one of the best ways of communication.
When people know you've been a soldier, they judge you: you are a thief, a lost boy.
When you don't educate the people, you're crippling them. You are, you're not giving them ways to survive.
If I sleep for more than half an hour, I get horrible dreams in which I'm firing a gun and helicopters are coming down.
I am proof that one person can rise above any challenge, and if I can, then so will others if they are given the chance.
I still have nightmares of dead comrades, a long time ago, talking to me. 'Emmanuel, don't forget about us, don't give up, keep telling our story.'
When I was in south Sudan, people used to rap in my village. But the rapping was more in the mother tongue, Nuer.
Only a coward will use a gun to protect and get respect for themselves.
We lack role models who can inspire our young people to make change.
I don't know anywhere where the people are hungrier for education than South Sudan.
In Africa, you know, if you're poor, at least you can go to the forest and share some mangoes with the gorillas and monkey.
I would advise dancers, musicians and others in the entertainment industry to take up yoga, as it clears the mind and creates a sense of balance and stillness which is important for any performing artist.
As a child, I didn't know what they mean by 'to die.' So I grew up in a place where people used to die all the time, but a child is not allowed to see a dead body. When you ask, 'Where is so-and so?' you're told, 'He's gone to another world where we all go to live in the future.'
I lost my childhood. I didn't play football or video games. Or have birthdays or the love of a family.
A cold heart is my protection mechanism. I don't really feel anything for anyone.
I don't take modern hip-hop as real. It's entertaining, it's fake, like James Bond.
I'm constantly seen as a 'foreigner,' and I need my passport to prove my identity, to keep moving and to carry on my work.
Knife crime and gun crime is poverty-driven, and poverty leads to insecurity.
When I listen to hip-hop, it's like no big difference how people sing in my village, 'cause bling would be their cow.
What I always wanted to do when I was a kid was to speak out and help people which I continue to do afterwards.
The only foreign policy advice I heard from China was when they said to Sudan, 'Don't go back to war.' That's all they said. They didn't push anything else.
Music moves my emotions because music loosens me up.
Music - it's the only thing that can enter your system, your mind, your heart, without your permission.
I was shocked when I came to New Orleans. I never knew there were beggars on the streets here. I didn't know that there were poor people. I thought this was Heaven, you know?
When I first went to school, I was fighting all the time. The soldier mentality was still in me. I kept getting expelled. I found it hard to take instructions from anyone who wasn't a military commander.
War destroys people's souls. Most people focus on physical injuries, but the invisible injuries can take a lifetime to heal and affects the lives of generations to come.
What music does to me, it helps me balance my inner pressure so that I can deal with the forces outside that are trying to pressure me.
Rap music is amazing, it's beautiful. But the problem is the lyrics. The person who writes the lyrics - that's the problem.
Young people are so brave when they go to fight.
The wealthiest Sudanese don't know what war is. Their children are safe in school.
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.
The first time I experienced war, I thought the world was ending.
If you really kill, you don't want to talk about it.
I'm rapping in English but in an African way. I'm not trying to sound like an American.
I grew up in poverty. For 25 years I was fed on aid.
To tell my story, to touch lives.
It’s no longer about the Lost Boys. They keep trying to make their way out, then they meet other people and empathize with them. It’s a story that a lot of people are going to discover their purpose from. When someone doesn’t know their purpose, they get lost.
Education is the only solution for peace.
[During the second Sudanese Civil War] what was actually killing us wasn't the Muslims, wasn't the Arabs. It was somebody sitting somewhere manipulating the system, and using religion to get what they want to get out of us, which is the oil, the diamond, the gold and the land.
Peace may be negotiated by politicians, but it is something written in hearts and minds not on pieces of paper
For many Sudanese, it's for strength they choose to be Christian rather than Muslim. My mum was a Muslim but she became a Christian later.
Music is actually where I see heaven.
In Africa, music is for everything, Music was originally used for community. That was what music was for.
Music is powerful. It is the only thing that can speak into your mind, your heart and your soul without your permission.
The worst people on earth are not only those who commit evil, but those who stand by and turn a blind eye