A year ago yesterday, I embarked on a huge and ongoing project — to photograph the whole of London by bike. A year and a day later, I have taken around 13,000 photos, and have published nearly 1,700 on Flickr. As it happens, my time has been so consumed of late with my ongoing campaign to close Guantánamo — where the prison-wide hunger strike, now in its fourth month, has finally awoken the world to the ongoing horrors of the prison — that I have not had time recently to publish photos from this project, although I have continued to take photos on an almost daily basis. I am currently organising the photos by area — largely, in fact, by postcode — as I work out how best to show them and to market them, but to mark the anniversary I will soon be posting a selection of photos from the first year of the project – and if anyone has any good ideas abut how to take tis project forward, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
In the meantime, I realised that today — May 12 — is the first anniversary of an event organised by the worldwide Occupy movement (inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York), and that I had photographed the event that took place in London, and so, to coincide with that anniversary, I’ve put together a selection off photos from the various political campaigns and protests I’ve been involved in over the last year.
I include two photos from the Occupy protest on May 12 last year (previously only published on my website, here and here), which involved a gathering at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the main Occupy London camp had been located from October 2011 until its eviction on February 28, 2012, followed by a march through the City to the Bank of England.
Also included is a photo from a set in August, taken at a protest in London against Atos Healthcare, the multinational corporation responsible for conducting disability reviews for the government, which are demonstrably intended to find disabled people fit for work, when they are not.
From October, there’s a photo from the TUC-backed protest, “A Future That Works” — a great gathering of a wide array of people opposed to the Tories’ malevolent and ideologically motivated “age of austerity,” which I recorded in two photo sets (see here and here), and also reported on here and here.
There are also photos from a number of protests against the plans to severely downgrade Lewisham Hospital, which were announced at the end of October and approved by health secretary Jeremy Hunt at the end of January. See the sets here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and see here for my archive of articles.
Involving a betrayal of the NHS by its own senior management, the plans led to the creation of a phenomenal protest movement in the London Borough of Lewisham, where, in January, 25,000 people attended a march and rally opposed to the plans. If they go ahead, 9 out of 10 mothers in the borough of 270,000 people will be unable to give birth in their home borough, and the three-quarters of a million residents of three boroughs — Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley — will be obliged to share one A&E Department, in Woolwich.
I’m glad to report that the movement to resist the plans for Lewisham continues, with two judicial reviews underway (also see here), but serious threats to the NHS also exist in the rest of London, and nationally.
Photos from the wider campaign to save the NHS are also included in this retrospective — in February, a protest in Hammersmith, and a House of Commons meeting to launch the “Defend London’s NHS” campaign, which is holding a major protest in London on May 18, and protests outside Parliament in March and April (see here, here and here). Also see my articles, “Defend London’s NHS: MPs, Doctors and Activists Describe An Unprecedented Threat to the NHS,” “The Destruction of the NHS in North West London,” “Save the NHS: Photos and Report from the Lobby of Parliament on March 26 to Scrap the New Regulations Enforcing NHS Privatisation” and “This was the Week the NHS Died, and No One Cares.”
Also featured in this retrospective set, of course, are photos from my ongoing campaign to secure the closure of the repulsive “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which has been the main focus of my work for the last seven years. Included are photos from my US visit in January, to mark the 11th anniversary of the prison’s opening (see the sets here, here and here, and my archive of articles and media here), and photos from protests in London for Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (see the sets here, here and here, and my archive of articles here). Please note that there will be events worldwide in support of the hunger strikers next Saturday, May 18, to mark the 100th day of the hunger strike. See the website of the London Guantánamo Campaign for more information. The London protest will be taking place outside the US Embassy from 2-4 pm.
And finally, the last two photos in the set (of Vivienne Westwood and Julian Assange) come from an event I took part in last Wednesday, May 8, in central London. This was a panel discussion in the Century Club, on Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End, entitled, “WikiLeaks: The Bradley Manning Story,” and it was taking place because the trial by court-martial of Pfc. Manning, who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of pages of classified US documents to WikiLeaks, while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, begins on June 3, 2013, almost three years after he was first arrested. See my archive of articles here, and the Bradley Manning Support Network, which is holding an international day of action on June 1.
I was part of the panel discussion, along with Chase Madar, a US attorney and the author of “The Passion of Bradley Manning,” and Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier and conscientious objector, who is now a spokesperson for Veterans for Peace UK. I was invited to take part because, in April 2011, I was a media partner for WikiLeaks’ release of classified military files relating to the Guantánamo prisoners. The packed-out event also featured Julian Assange speaking by video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy, and two guest speakers — Peter Tatchell as well as Vivienne Westwood.
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).
To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the four-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.
Trying a new idea with some of my posts. Use a translator and post in a mix of languages to see what kind of response I get.
Thanks, Tom. Merci beaucoup. Grazie. Gracias. Danke.
On Facebook, Meena Sharma wrote:
Wow! Thanks Andy for sharing..
You’re welcome, Meena. Great to hear from you.
Writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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