If you’re around on Sunday, between 3pm and 5pm GMT, you can listen to me reading from my books and playing some of my favourite music with human rights activist and arts curator Hamja Ahsan (DIY Cultures), who has a show, DIY Sunday Radio, every Sunday afternoon (UK time) on One Harmony Radio, based in Brockley, south east London, where I live.
Hamja became a campaigner because his brother, Talha, a talented poet with Asberger’s Syndrome, was imprisoned without charge or trial in the UK for six years pending extradition to the US, and was then extradited, spending two years in a Supermax prison before a judge sentenced him to time served and sent him home. See the campaign’s Facebook page here.
One Harmony Radio, which mainly plays reggae music, is a community internet radio station, so you can listen to my show from anywhere in the world! The Facebook page is here.
My first two books were about Britain’s counter-culture, the free festival movement, the significance of Stonehenge and the state suppression of dissent — still relevant in the month that marked the 30th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield, when 1,300 police savagely decommissioned a convoy of men, women and children trying to get to Stonehenge to set up what would have been the 12th Stonehenge Free Festival, an anarchic month-long event that, in its last year, in 1984, had become an alternative city of at least 50,000 people. It is also, of course, just a week after the summer solstice, the centrepiece of people’s celebrations at Stonehenge.
My third book tells the stories of the men — and boys — held in the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a place set up by the Bush administration to hold prisoners without any rights whatsoever. I have been researching and writing about Guantánamo, and campaigning to get the prison closed down for the last nine years, and will continue to do so until it is shut down. I understand, from my research, that very few of the men held had any involvement with al-Qaeda and acts of international terrorism, and it is important to me, as it should be to anyone who believes in justice, that no one should be held indefinitely without charge or trial and subjected to torture, as has happened at Guantánamo. It is important to realise that terrorism is a crime, which should be tried in federal court, and that soldiers should be protected by the Geneva Conventions and freed at the end of hostilities. In Guantánamo, soldiers are treated as terrorists, terrorists are treated as super-soldiers, and everyone continues to be treated as though the normal rules regarding detention don’t apply.
As well as reading from my books and chatting to Hamja — about life, work and my campaigning, via my own website, via Close Guantánamo, which I launched in January 2012 with the US attorney Tom Wilner, and via We Stand With Shaker, which I launched last November with the activist Joanne MacInnes, to call for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison — I’ll be playing some of my favourite music, so expect lots of roots reggae, some African music, some Bob Dylan, some Hawkwind to mark the festival days, and some of my own music, by my band The Four Fathers, from our forthcoming album, Love and War. I’ll be playing some of the songs I wrote — ‘Song for Shaker Aamer’, featured in the campaign video for We Stand With Shaker, and probably another storming new song, ‘Fighting Injustice.’ Check out our free song ‘Tory Bullshit Blues’ here, and see the video for We Stand With Shaker below:
Arts night in Hackney Wick, Thursday July 2
On Thursday July 2, I’ll also be joining Hamja and several other guests for an event at the Yard Theatre in achingly hip Hackney Wick, across the river (the Lee Navigation) from the Olympic Park in Stratford, in east London. The Facebook page for that event, ‘DIY Night: Book Jam, Live Bands, DJs, Zine fair, Poetry, Performance’, is here. The Yard Theatre is at Unit 2a, Queen’s Yard, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN, and you can find a map here. The nearest tube is Hackney Wick, just five minutes away, and there are regular trains running East to Stratford and West to Dalston, Highbury & Islington and Richmond. The event is free, but a donation of £5 will be greatly appreciated to cover costs.
I will, again, be reading from my books, Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion, The Battle of the Beanfield and The Guantánamo Files, and I will have copies of the Stonehenge and Beanfield books for sale, although my Guantánamo book has sold out (except for a few academic hardback copies available directly from me — or paperback copies you can still find online).
The evening begins at 6pm, readings are from 7-9pm, and there are live bands from 10pm, plus DJs at various times throughout the night. The music is described, eclectically, as “Riot Grrl, Afropunk, Afrobeat, Qawwali, Asian Underground, Avant-rock, Taqwacore, post-punk, blues, no wave, electronica, 1990s alt, Suficore, lo-fi.” In addition, the Aroma Cafe serves food from from 6pm-10pm, and there’s a bar from 6pm-2am.
Other guests include: Harry Man, reading poetry related to science fiction and technology; Jacob Joyce, who has a comics stall, and will also be reading; Dee Sada, who will be reading Mary Barnes poems and speaking about R.D. Laing; Carmin Masolivier (She Grwwwls), who will be reading poetry and speaking about DIY organising; Different Skies, who will be reading prose; performance poet Riffat Ahmed; and Suficore band The Friends of Design.
Do come along if you’re around. It would be lovely to see you!
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers). He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the co-director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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 six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “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, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.
Apologies for posting this so early. I’m out this evening, at a Parliamentary meeting for Shaker Aamer, where I’m speaking, as is Clive Stafford Smith and John McDonnell MP, the co-chair of the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group: https://www.facebook.com/WeStandWithShaker/photos/a.706946419395172.1073741827.706940079395806/817888031634343/?type=1
I just set up a dedicated page for The Four Fathers’ album ‘Love and War’ on my website here, where you can order it: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/love-and-war-by-the-four-fathers/
Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. 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.
Email Andy Worthington
Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist: