Michael Franti's Movie About The Middle East

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"I Know I'm Not Alone"

I was given the opportunity the other day to watch a movie called "I Know I'm Not Alone". This film is about a personal tour of the Middle East around the year 2003. This film was directed by Michael Franti, the lead singer for Spearhead who is also a guitarist and songwriter who found in his compassionate heart a desire to relate and reach out peacefully to the real people who live there in the current time of war. Even though this film was produced in 2003 and released in 2006, the areas that he traveled through are still affected by the continuing conditions of the areas of war. Michael Franti and Spearhead also recorded the CD, "Yell Fire", which contains songs that Michael Franti wrote about his tour of the Middle East.

Michael Franti wanted to get to know the common people, the professional people and those who were involved in the war as well. Being an American, Mr. Franti was given the protection of the best taxi cabbies in the area, who were well known to the locals in Baghdad and knew how to identify dangerous threats so to help him get through the areas without difficulty. I was impressed that these men of assistance were fluent in English and that they expressed that they wanted a better life and wanted peace for their country.

Everywhere Michael Franti traveled in each location of Iraq, Israel and Palestine he carried his guitar. He impressed many, and sometimes he was told to go away. When he learned some common vocabulary in Arabic, he was able to reach more listeners with a song that contained the word for friendship. The children and adults were able to join in with the singing of this Arabic song that Michael Franti created. Michael Franti also was able to meet other local musicians, and at the place called Cafe Hiwar, he met with those who were poets and journalists. One journalist stated that if even if he was injured and lost his limbs he would still do his journalism.

Michael Franti met soldiers who hung out at a local radio station called I Rock Iraq. This was a time when the Americans in Iraq could really tell him how it was. Sharing his music with the soldiers appeared to be enjoyable to them, to be in touch with someone who cared so much for those who could not go home.

In the film, an excellent description of Palestinian borders was explained. I now understand why Israel is still having such a difficult time in this war zone and how hard it is to be under such strict military orders from its government. Michael Franti was not even afraid to be face to face at the Apartheid wall speaking with a local soldier who only wanted peace and safety for his family.

MY REFLECTION

I truly enjoyed learning more about the Middle East through watching this film. It was a great accomplishment for Michael Franti to become a missionary to the hearts of these residents of such a devastated society. This is quite a challenge for someone I only thought was an excellent song writer and performer. I now appreciate more the lyrics of Michael Franti's original songs, because it reflects the emotions felt as he traveled through the Middle East and his desire to change the hearts of the people through his music. I want to thank Mr. Franti personally for what he has done. He has inspired so many with his message of hope and love. "Habibi" will be in his heart forever.

Michael Franti's remarkable experience of going to the Middle East

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