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Taken from JamBase (June 11, 2004)


by JamBase

Michael FrantiMusician, activist and poet Michael Franti will lead a delegation of peace workers, musicians, artists and film makers who are traveling to Iraq and Israel from June 2nd through the 15th.

The intention of the trip is to see first-hand the affects of the war on all those involved from Iraqi civilians to men and women in uniform. Although no concerts are planned for the trip, Michael and the others are planning on meeting with as many Iraqi musicians and artists as possible as well as students and other youth organizations.

They will visit bomb sites, hospitals, women centers, universities, radio stations, cultural centers, social justice organizations & refugee camps among others. They will travel thru Amman, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus, Jayyous, Bethlehem & Gaza Strip. Michael will be a correspondent for Pacific Radio Network station KPFA, and will call in reports to syndicated radio and tv program, Democracy Now! during the trip.

"I have been speaking from my heart about the futility of war since I began making music," Michael says, "and having spoken to many men and women in the U.S. military about their experiences in Iraq, I felt that it was time for me to go there myself, so I can see first hand what it is we are facing in the years to come as Iraq goes through the painful process of healing herself."

With regards to visiting Israel, Michael notes that he has "always been concerned about the situation in Israel with the Palestinians and hope that through learning more about the crisis from both sides I can better serve as a voice for change and peace to those who only hear about the region on the nightly news."

As far as his goals for the trip, Franti's intention is "to go there with an open mind, an open heart and a guitar, to experience as much as I can in our limited time. I hope that upon our return all of us on the trip will become more effective communicators for those whose voices are going unheard."

Michael and the rest of the delegation will be creating a documentary film about their experiences in the Middle East and are looking for donations to help cover some of the costs of the trip as well as the production of the film that will be edited throughout the summer '04 and first screening in September '04 with festivals to follow.

Anyone who believes in the spirit of this project and wishes to make a tax deductible donation can do so through Spearhead's non profit organization, Power To The Peaceful Fund.

>Checks payable to:
Power to the Peaceful
3470 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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