OK, so I’m away for two weeks, on my annual family holiday — this year to Italy, and, specifically, to Rome for a week, and then Abruzzo for a second week. It will be good to get away. I’ve been finding Guantánamo weighing heavily on me, and the state of Britain under the Tories has been no easier to bear, so an opportunity to rest and recharge the creative batteries will be most welcome.
I’ll be trying to publish a few articles while I’m away, but I won’t make any rash promises. The most likely scenario is that I’ll manage to publish a few more photo sets from the ongoing project that has been particularly motivating me over the last three months — cycling around London by bike, taking photos of whatever interests me, to add to a body of work chronicling London in 2012, as I try to understand — both physically and mentally — this enormous and enthralling city that has been my home for the last 27 years, and that is permeated by history, illuminated or dulled by the weather, and enlivened by nature.
Cycling around London with a camera also demonstrates a chasm between the rich and the poor that continues to grow, with the glass and steel towers of speculative finance rising up everywhere as though the economy was healthy, and not in a double-dip recession, and, on the other hand, the many other places where businesses continue to go bust. Some areas of London — where the chattering classes rarely venture, if ever — have begun to resemble ghost towns, with the unemployed — on the anniversary of last summer’s unrest — supposed to stay quiet and not express any kind of dissatisfaction while chasing non-existent jobs.
This rich-poor divide and the intended silencing of the discontented, deprived and disenfranchised continues even though any objective analysis of the current crisis reveals that (a) those who caused the global crash of 2008, from which all our problems originally emanate, are unpunished and still free to pursue their dubious — or downright illegal — practices, and (b) the idiotic Tory-led government is making matters worse by punishing the young, the working poor, the old, the ill, the unemployed and the disabled for the crimes of the rich and the super-rich, through a programme of savage and unprecedented austerity that is counter-productive, stifling demand — and extinguishing hope — when hope and demand are what are urgently needed.
I have no rose-tinted notion that Italy will be any more functional, as the crash of 2008 was an explosion that severely wounded everyone who had been close to or involved in the bubble that began in the late 1990s. It may be that no solution will be found until the old order is overthrown, and a new, visionary political system implemented — an as yet inconceivable system that recognises the need to create work in the Western economies — very possibly be stemming the outsourcing that has haemorrhaged jobs in the last 25 years — and to rein in the unparalleled greed that has prevailed during that same period.
I may find time to comment on the situation in Italy, and to post some photos, but if not, enjoy the summer, and I’ll see you in two weeks.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
have a good trip Andy- be safe…. and thanks so much for all you do….
Enjoy Italy! Cheers!
there is no other country in the world that has had polititions as foolish as the ones that have run this country over the last 40 years both tory and labour no other governments would have sold of all of its industries for short term profits ..its just maddness now the olympics are gone maybe just maybe we can get to sorting this mess of a country out..well we can all dream..cant we
Great to hear from you, Karen, arcticredriver and Damo.
Damo, yes, your analysis is spot-on, and yes, we can dream. Time for action as soon as the Paralympics is over!
On Facebook, Laurette LaLiberte wrote:
Aleksey Penskiy wrote:
have a good rest!
Dejanka Bryant wrote:
Enjoy your holiday, Andy.
Carol Anne Grayson wrote:
Have a well earned break ENJOY!
Toia Tutta Jung wrote:
Enjoy your holiday Andy and relax!
Paul Truthseeker Duckworth wrote:
Enjoy your break Andy :)))
Sue Glenton wrote:
Look forward to photos from Italy Andy
Michael S. Kearns wrote:
Andy, I’m in Bologna, Italy (for two more days)… where are you headed?
Thanks for the kind wishes, everyone. Arrived safely in Rome – staying in a lovely apartment with a view of St. Peter’s (Basilica San Pietro) in the Vatican! The people are friendly, the food is the best, the weather is very hot, the wi-fi (which I thought I might have to go in search of) seems to be coming directly to the apartment from the Vatican — and I get to speak Italian. What could be better?
So Kearnsey, we’re here until the 19th, then moving on to Abruzzo province for a week. You around?
have a good holiday andy dear have fun
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
Have a good vacation, Andy. I hope the weather and relaxation are helpful.
Oh they already are, George. Much as I love my home country and London it’s a fight against the forces of darkness a lot of the time!
And thanks again, Damo. I hope the rest of August provides some opportunities for enjoyment. As we both know, winter’s going to be hard.
Maggie Hansen wrote:
Have a lovely well deserved holiday Andrew and family!
Thank you, Maggie. We will!
D J Sanchez Montebello wrote:
Everybody deserves a break.
Glad to hear it. Thanks, Sanchez.
Michael S. Kearns wrote:
Andy, I’m seeing the folks at Johns Hopkins Uni here in Bologna today, then off to Milano tomorrow, and fly back to Denver Wednesday. We’ll have to sync-up soon!?
My spy novel is set to be published in November… in time for Veteran’s Day I’m hoping. I’ll have it on Amazon and Google as an eBook… but will also have Print in Demand hard copies available …you’re first on the list to get one!
Jennah Solace wrote:
Have a good time — create away!
Thanks, Kearnsey! Congrats on the novel, and catching up would be great, whenever the opportunity arises. Thanks also, Jennah. for the encouragement! Take care of yourself!
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