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Taken from American Songwriter (Oct 19, 2023)

Michael Franti Shares His Thoughts on the Israel-Hamas War

by Clayton Edwards

Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images
Michael Franti in concert. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Michael Franti's career spans nearly four decades. During that time, he has dipped his toes into a plethora of genres. However, one of the things that never changes about the California-born musician is his heart for a wide range of social justice issues including peace in the Middle East. Recently, he shared his thoughts on the current war in Gaza and some advice with his followers on Instagram.

Franti shared a post containing six slides of text. "These are my thoughts and feelings," he wrote. "You are welcome to share yours. I'm here to listen. Keep them respectful to everyone in the conversation or they will be deleted."

"My heart breaks for the Middle East," Franti began the longer section of the post. He added that he cannot fathom the pain that families around the world are feeling as the casualties continue to mount. "I am aghast, appalled, sickened, and saddened by all of it."

Franti then points out that he is more than a casual observer. He has been to Gaza and the surrounding territories. While there, he spoke to families on both sides of the conflict. "I've heard the accounts of the loss of family members and generational trauma from both and I've seen the devastating effects of the occupation and blockade over decades," he stated.

Then, Franti revealed why he hadn't said anything about the war before this post. "If there was anything I could say that wouldn't immediately cause people to choose sides and talk sh*t about one another, I would have said it already," he explained. Franti added that social media algorithms reward extreme positions.

Later in the post, Franti said that he has spent the last week talking to friends and strangers from all walks of life with different understandings of the history of the affected region. This, he said, has helped him feel less alone. However, he still feels lost.

Before sharing some advice with his followers, he referenced his song "Bomb the World" from his 2003 album Everyone Deserves Music. "Years ago I wrote a song with words I believe in. We can bomb the world to pieces but we can't bomb it into peace. Perhaps you feel otherwise ... I'm not here to convince you."

Check out the post below to see the advice Franti shared with his fans to help them feel better in the face of the atrocities happening in the Middle East.




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