Radio: I Discuss Guantánamo and the Tidemill Campaign on Wandsworth’s Riverside Radio, Also Featuring Songs by The Four Fathers

12.6.19

Andy Worthington at a previous radio appearance, discussing Guantánamo in Northampton, Massachusetts in January 2015.

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On Saturday, I was delighted to be visited by Andy Bungay, from Wandsworth’s Riverside Radio, for an interview broadcast on Andy’s evening show on Sunday, in which we discussed Guantánamo, which I’ve been covering for the last 13 years, and campaigning for its closure, and the housing crisis in London, which I’ve also been involved in challenging for the last few years. I was on Andy’s show back in September, and it was great to have the opportunity to talk again.

The full show is here.

Our interview starts about 1 hours and five minutes into the show, with a discussion of Guantánamo, and, in part, the case of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, whose release in October 2015 I campaigned to secure, initially working with the Save Shaker Aamer campaign, and, over the last year of Shaker’s imprisonment, via We Stand With Shaker, a campaign I set up with fellow activist Joanne MacInnes. This involved creating a giant inflatable figure of Shaker, a PR stunt that might have been widely ignored, but that, instead, led to a hundred celebrities and MPs being willing to have their photos taken with the figure, and to call for his release.

At 1:22, Andy played ’Song for Shaker Aamer’, a solo version of The Four Fathers’ song, used as the campaign song for We Stand With Shaker, which was recorded live in Washington, D.C. in January 2016, where I played it at an event calling for Guantánamo’s closure on the evening before the 14th anniversary of its opening, with lyrics amended to reflect Shaker’s release. The part about Shaker being “back in London” got a big cheer from the crowd!

The interview resumes just before 1:42, with further discussion of Guantánamo, and then, around 1:47, we moved on to a discussion of the Save Reginald Save Tidemill campaign, working to save the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, a beautiful and environmentally important community garden in Deptford, and Reginald House, a block of structurally sound flats next door, from destruction as part of an inappropriate housing development. See my archive of articles about Tidemill here.

Although the garden has been destroyed, the campaign to persuade Lewisham Council and Peabody to allow it to be re-created, and to save Reginald House continues, and I spoke about my hopes that the growing drive towards environmental direct action, as shown by Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg, will feed into direct action against the horribly polluting corporate building industry. Tidemill is just a small part of the London-wide and country-wide problem with inappropriate housing developments, but it provides a powerful example of how social cleansing and environmental destruction manifest themselves in reality, behind all the spin about providing “affordable” homes, and declaring climate emergencies.

At 1:52, Andy played The Four Fathers’ song ‘Grenfell’, written about the horrendous fire in a tower block in west London on June 14, 2017, which led to the entirely preventable deaths of 72 people. The recording features The Wiz-RD beatboxing, was recorded live by a German TV crew in October 2017, and is available as a video here. And feel free to check out the studio recording here. And please don’t forget the anniversary on Friday. If you can, go along to the Silent Walk around Grenfell Tower. These have been taking place on the 14th of every month since the fire, and are very moving experiences.

We then continued talking about Tidemill, the failings and corruption of the housing market, problems with the mainstream media, the state of the Labour Party, and the state of our divided nation since the disastrous EU referendum nearly three years ago. The interview ended around 2:08.

* * * * *

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 music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in 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), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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, linking to and discussing my recent interview with Andy Bungay​ of Wandsworth Radio, broadcast on Sunday, in which we discussed Guantanamo, which I’ve been writing about and campaigning to close for the last 13 years, and the housing crisis in London, which I’ve been involved in for several years, particularly through the Save Reginald Save Tidemill​ campaign, fighting to save a community garden and council housing in Deptford from the cynical, profit-seeking, housing ‘regeneration’ industry.

    Andy also played a couple of songs by my band The Four Fathers​ – me playing ‘Song for Shaker Aamer’ in Washington, D.C. and the band, with beatboxer The Wiz-RD, playing ‘Grenfell.’

    If you like what you hear, please consider donating to my quarterly fundraiser, to support my work as a reader-funded journalist and activist: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2019/06/10/quarterly-fundraiser-seeking-2500-2000-to-support-my-guantanamo-work-activism-and-photo-journalism-for-the-next-three-months/

  2. Anna says...

    Hi Andy, haven’t been able to follow all of late, due to own activities but also “The Continuing Story” not of Peyton Place but of Brexit – what else ? What eventually is the most distressing, that it ALL is about party politics rather than what is good or needed for the country. Starting with bloody May spilling crocodile tears about the nation she so loves serving ( … !!!), all the way to Boris now spewing similar crocodile platitudes, and terribly disappointing Corbyn remaining sitting on the fence, as he too seems to consider Labour being in power more important than the wellbeing of the country. SO what if he becomes prime minister in the next elections once Britain will have been catapulted out of the EU by October 31st ? Farage’s recent success also is only seen as dangerous not for the country, but merely for the various parties’ political prospects.
    As someone pointedly remarked, all it takes is for the next PM to do nothing until October 31st, for the UK to plunge off the no-deal cliff. And Boris being loathed as he is in Brussels, there will not be all that much willingnes to discuss any form of deal with him afterwards.
    And with Boris increasingly likely to succeed May, it begins to feel, Andy, like I should start preparing condolences. But for now I’ll stick with sincere sympathy …

    On a different but brighter side, wonder if you’ve had time to see Wonderful Cory Crider’s wonderful contributions to a better world for all of us :
    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/artificial-intelligence-reinforces-power-privilege-190612210731092.html

    https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/the-big-picture/2019/06/world-ai-190607121159308.html

    And I do hope the garden will be restored, even if it’ll take some 20 yrs at least for anything like the old one to re-grow.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Anna – and yet again you’re paying more attention to Brexit than most of us here in the UK, probably because it’s actually all too horrible to dwell on. Boris Johnson? It’s beyond satire.
    Delighted to see Cori on Al-Jazeera, in what looks like it involves some serious analysis of AI and its role in our present and our future, which is clearly very important, and should concern us all.
    As for the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, we can but hope. The builders haven’t yet moved onto the site, so the garden’s re-birth still seems possible. That’s optimism for you!

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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 (The State of London).
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