Launched for New Year’s Day Kickoff

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New grassroots organization proposes 'A Great Anthem for a Great Movement' with the launch of this week. The durable 1970s classic Peace Train has crossed cultural and politcal boundaries, and this new website offers links to direct legal downloads in hope of achieving widespread distribution for a January 1, 2006 anthem launch. Nations and social movements have adopted musical themes to focus emotional energy and moral attention on issues. Author Yusuf Islam (former rock icon Cat Stevens) recorded an updated a cappella version in South Africa, and the song has been covered by artists as diverse as Dolly Parton, Richie Havens and 10,000 Maniacs.

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PeaceTrain2006 has announced the launch of its new web site at

With the aim of focusing a different perspective on the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the new grassroots organization has proposed "A Great Anthem for a Great Movement" with the launch of this week. The goal of PeaceTrain2006 is to use digital technology to get as many people as possible involved in spreading the message of hope and inspiration of the song Peace Train, leading up to a January 1, 2006 launch of the new anthem. The organization did a soft launch of the site last week, prior to the holiday weekend.

The durable 1970s classic Peace Train has crossed cultural and politcal boundaries, with cover versions by artists ranging from Dolly Parton to 10,000 Maniacs to Richie Havens.

The web site will offer history of the song Peace Train and its author Yusuf Islam (the former rock icon, Cat Stevens) as well as direct links to legitimate online services that provide legal downloads of the song by various artists. Mr. Islam has recently been nominated to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, and was previously honored by the Gorbachev Foundation with its "Man of Peace" award. (The singer, who is chairman of the Small Kindness Charity, was honored for alleviating the suffering of thousands of children in war-ravaged countries, including Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq, for having given the majority of the royalties for his artistic activities to the victims of 9/11 and for his work in favor of the homeless, orphans and AIDS sufferers.) will also feature a link to Islam’s Graceland-style a cappella video recording on his Mountain of Light recording label company site. This little-seen but stirring rendition will open the eyes of old and new fans alike.

Music provides a lens through which societies focus emotional energy and moral attention on important issues. Nations have anthems. Great social movements have adopted anthems.

Peace Train has proven itself through time to have a strong message of peace and hope. Like a seasoned old warrior, it's ready to be called back into service as a positive messenger of peace and reason. The time is right: the tide is turning, and choosing the right anthem to unite and focus public and private efforts against a poorly planned and executed policy can’t be a bad thing.    

The fact is, our nation is militarily, economically and politically engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. Restoration of infrastructure and social normalcy is hampered by the ongoing conflict. PeaceTrain2006's desire is to assure U.S. troops of the moral support of the nation in their peace keeping efforts; and to apply pressure to our government leaders to bring U.S. troops home and enlist broad international coalition assistance in completing the nation-building efforts the U.S. and its limited coalition have begun. Recent announcements about troop reductions in the New Year are a good start, but that's all they are: the promise of a start. They are not a plan, they are not a firm commitment, and they are not an exit strategy with a defined end.

PeaceTrain2006 is not affiliated with Yusuf Islam, his production companies or foundations, or any of the record companies, recording artists or electronic media distributors featured on the site offering the music. PeaceTrain2006 is a totally independent, shoestring-budgeted, grassroots effort demonstrating that motivated individuals make a difference. PeaceTrain2006 is a 501(c)3 organization (application pending) with no sponsor, corporate, contributor, PAC or 527 affiliations or support and it does not profit from downloads of music from the site.

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