Video: Andy Worthington Sings “Song for Shaker Aamer” at Guantánamo Event in Washington, D.C.

4.2.16

Andy Worthington singing "Song for Shaker Aamer" at "Visions of Homecoming: Close Guantanamo!" an event in Washington, D.C. on January 10, 2016, put together by Witness Against Torture and Code Pink (Screen grab from the video by Justin Norman).On January 10, while I was in Washington, D.C. as part of a short tour to call for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on and around the 14th anniversary of its opening, I was delighted to be asked to speak at “Visions of Homecoming: Close Guantanamo!” an event put together by Witness Against Torture and Code Pink, and also featuring Bronx-based spoken word performers The Peace Poets.

The event — at a place called Impact Hub DC, around the corner from the church where the Witness Against Torture activists were staying — was mainly to recall the visit the groups made to Cuba, in November, to call for the closure of Guantánamo, and also to prepare us all for the protest outside the White House the day after, and I was honored that I was asked to also talk about the success of the campaign to free Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, and in particular my work with the We Stand With Shaker campaign, which I set up in November 2014 with the activist Joanne MacInnes.

After a short discussion of the campaign, I also played an acoustic version of “Song for Shaker Aamer,” the song I wrote and recorded with my band The Four Fathers, which was featured in the campaign video for We Stand With Shaker. Since Shaker’s release, I have amended the words to reflect his freedom, and this was the version I played.

Yesterday, I was delighted to find that Justin Norman, photographer, filmmaker and designer for Witness Against Torture, was celebrating his return from an eventful work trip to Nigeria by posting some additional videos from the January Guantánamo actions, including, I was delighted to note, the video of me playing “Song for Shaker Aamer,” which is posted below, via YouTube. It is also on Facebook.

I hope you have time to watch it, and that you will share it if you like it. If you want to buy the version I recorded with The Four Fathers, it’s available as a download via our Bandcamp page, for just $1.25/80p, although you can pay more if you wish. It’s also featured on our album, “Love and War,” which is available as an 8-track download (or you can buy individual tracks) or on CD, with two additional tracks, including our cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War.” The CD can, of course, be sent anywhere in the world.

And if you’re interested in having me or The Four Fathers play — with or without the option of me also talking about my work on Guantánamo — then please get in touch. We are available for pub gigs, festivals and parties, and also for political events, with a repertoire of songs celebrating socialism and opposing the greed of the 21st century and the Tories’ cynical age of austerity, as well as anti-war songs, and songs about Guantánamo and the US torture program.

As well as Song for Shaker Aamer, these include our roots rocking anthem and crowd favorite Fighting Injustice, Tory Bullshit Blues, and our new songs Riot and London, and, in defense of justice, 81 Million Dollars, about the US torture program, and some other new songs that we’ll be playing very soon — one called Close Guantánamo, and another, Equal Rights and Justice For All, about habeas corpus. My fellow guitarist Richard Clare also has a new song, She’s Back, about Pussy Riot, and we have also been known to play a few love songs, as well as chosen covers — more Bob Dylan, and the Pogues, to name a few.

And finally, for now, if you’re in London, we’re playing at Vinyl, a great record shop in Deptford, London SE8, on Saturday February 13. Free entry, 8pm start, with support from my son Tyler (aka the Wiz-RD), beatboxing. Vinyl is at 4 Tanners Hill, London SE8 4PJ, phone number 07930 421113. There’ll be a bar, plus tea and coffee and some special pre-Valentine’s Day snacks!

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, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), 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.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting the video of me singing “Song for Shaker Aamer” at a Guantanamo event in Washington, D.C. last month, on the eve of the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison, after I had spoken about the We Stand With Shaker campaign that helped to get Shaker released. I’ve updated the lyrics to reflect Shaker’s release, but you can listen to – and buy, if you want – the original version here, recorded with my band The Four Fathers​: https://thefourfathers.bandcamp.com/track/song-for-shaker-aamer

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Great CD and highly recommended

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. Your support is greatly appreciated!

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Andy Worthington

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.
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