Taken from myspace - spearheadvibrations (Jan 28, 2009)
Inauguration Blog by Michael Franti
How you feelin?
I've been out on the street all day and I've just been going up to people asking where they are from, and what they're doing here. They're like, I don't know man, I just had to be here, and that's how it feels. So, I'm super glad to be here with you all in this historic time, in this historic moment.
In 2004, I was watching CNN on our tour bus. There were these generals and politicians talking about the economic cost and the political costs of war, but they never mentioned anything about the human cost of war. So, I decided to take my guitar and a video camera, and fly from New York City to Ahman, Jordan. I had bought a ticket on a sixteen passenger airplane and flew to Baghdad. I played music on the street for Iraqi civilians, and at night I played for US soldiers. I went to a street corner and played for Iraqi civilians. I knew one word in Arabic, which is Habibi, and it means my good friend, my dear love. Every man says it to every man and every woman says it to every woman when they greet each other. So I wrote this little song, it's like, Habibi Habibi, and this amazing thing happened. These people were like, Who is this weirdo with a guitar? They started dancing and clapping and singing to this silly song.
I really saw, you know, we talk about it a lot, the power of music to bring people together. You saw it yesterday, the power of music to bring a million people out into the park to hear music and to hear these ideas of Barack. But to do it in a simple way, in a very micro way just to see somebody who's had their home destroyed, to see somebody who has had their child's limb blown off, to meet a soldier who's a long way from home and wondering why he's there, and to see how music brings an awakening in people, brings an awakening in all of us.
I have really admired the work of Rock The Vote and have been involved in various things with Rock the Vote for a long time. Because that's what Rock the Vote is dedicated to. It's dedicated to using the power of music to bring an awareness and awakening in people, or to bring a consciousness in people, or to raise money or awareness for a certain cause. I really appreciate the support and all that you have done in whatever ways you have given. Like Sheryl was saying, we have to continue to find ways to contribute to this effort. To make the world a brighter place.
I was thinking today on the way here if there has ever been a time when so many people in the world celebrated one thing. I was thinking...Super Bowl? Well, in some countries, you know, maybe the Berlin Wall. But, I don't know if there's ever been a time where the whole world, in Africa, Asia, South America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, everywhere, was paying attention to this one event that we are here to be involved in. The energy that we are apart of here today, we have the opportunity to take out into the world and share with our people back home through our pictures, through our first hand experience. We're able to use that to not just hold Barack accountable to his promises, but to have this opportunity to help Barack achieve this vision of bringing people together across religions, across races, across the aisle. I just want to say thank you very much for being here in the spirit of music and oneness.