Taken from Green Left Weekly (May 07, 2003)
Power to the peaceful by Michael Franti
SAN FRANCISCO - "We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can't bomb it into peace", this best sums up my opinion on militarism. The line came to mind at an organising meeting for a mass concert and rally we put on in San Francisco, days after September 11, 2001, to declare the city a "hate-free zone".
At the time, there was a harsh anti-Muslim/Arab sentiment brewing throughout the United States, and a number of us in San Francisco wanted to express our outrage against the violence that was being inflicted upon individuals and businesses in the Muslim/Arab community.
While sitting with my guitar at the festival site a few days before the concert, I began strumming the chords and repeating the line over and over, which eventually became the chorus of the song "Bomb the World". The verses came to me as America, in its pain and anger over the 9/11 attacks, began beating the drums of war. I wanted to know why? A war with no terms? A war with no borders? A war with no budget? A war with no end? Why?
Since that time, I have performed the song acoustically on stages at festivals and demonstrations around the world for hundreds of thousands of people. In doing so, I have seen the passion and commitment of people who, like myself, believe that all bombing is terrorism, no matter who is doing it.
I have been outraged and horrified as I have witnessed the events of the past 18 months unfold culminating with operation "Shock and Awe" in Iraq. I remember the pain in the hearts of us all following the attacks on September 11, and cannot imagine the pain in the hearts of those in Baghdad who, in the name of oil, have been ravaged by violence thousands of times greater than that which occurred in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. I grieve with all who have endured loss.
My intention with this song, and all my music, has been to inspire others to join in the belief that we should dedicate ourselves to "shocking and awing" each other, not by our ability to kill, but by the depth of our love and commitment to justice.
Stop the killing! Power to the peaceful!
"Bomb the World" can be downloaded free, and sent to friends as an animated e-card, from http://www.stayhuman.org.
From Green Left Weekly, May 7, 2003.
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