Last week, provocative musician/activist Michael Franti spent two days
meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) staffers and members of
the United Nations. The meetings, which took place at the WHO Building
at the United Nations Complex in Geneva, come on the eve of the release
of Franti's latest album 'Yell Fire!' and his riveting documentary "I
Know I'm Not Alone" which will both be released on Anti - Records on
After a personal viewing of Franti's captivating documentary WHO
staffer, Dr. Paul Kowal, was moved to invite Franti to be part of a panel on
"The Human Face of Conflict and Health: Impact on Health Care Systems"
at the WHO headquarters. "I Know I'm Not Alone" chronicles Franti's
journey to the Middle East in 2004 and features compelling footage of
the war -torn nations that he visited and the effects that war has on
the human population. "Although war is the most politically weighted
subject one could ever take on, I did not want to make a political
movie," says Franti. "Instead, I wanted to make a film about people, and the
things they do to overcome the stresses of war and occupation: chief
among these being friendship, humour, art and music."
The panel, which consisted of 50 WHO staffers and members of the United
Nations, discussed Franti's film, recent and upcoming WHO activities
and the ways in which health is a "bridge to peace." The panel was also
treated to a screening of "I Know I'm Not Alone" and a special two song
performance from Franti including an unreleased song "Lifesaver" which
was written while Franti was visiting Iraq.
Over the course of the two day period, Franti also met with twelve WHO
Health Leadership Fellows from Burma, Tanzania, India, Congo, Syria and
other countries from around the world.