The holiday starts here …


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.

24 Responses

  1. karen todd says...

    have a good trip Andy- be safe…. and thanks so much for all you do….

  2. arcticredriver says...

    Enjoy Italy! Cheers!

  3. damo68 says...

    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

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    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!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Laurette LaLiberte wrote:

    enjoy !!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Aleksey Penskiy wrote:

    have a good rest!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Dejanka Bryant wrote:

    Enjoy your holiday, Andy.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Carol Anne Grayson wrote:

    Have a well earned break 🙂 ENJOY!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    Enjoy your holiday Andy and relax! 🙂

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Truthseeker Duckworth wrote:

    Enjoy your break Andy :)))

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Sue Glenton wrote:

    Look forward to photos from Italy Andy

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Michael S. Kearns wrote:

    Andy, I’m in Bologna, Italy (for two more days)… where are you headed?

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    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?

  14. damo68 says...

    have a good holiday andy dear have fun

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Have a good vacation, Andy. I hope the weather and relaxation are helpful.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    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!

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    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.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Maggie Hansen wrote:

    Have a lovely well deserved holiday Andrew and family!

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Maggie. We will!

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    D J Sanchez Montebello wrote:

    Everybody deserves a break.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Glad to hear it. Thanks, Sanchez.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    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!

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Jennah Solace wrote:

    Have a good time — create away! 🙂

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    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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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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