‘Song for Shaker Aamer’ by Andy Worthington’s Band The Four Fathers is ‘Protest Song of the Week’ on Kevin Gosztola’s Shadowproof


Shadowproof's article making The Four Fathers' "Song for Shaker Aamer" its "Protest Song of the Week."I’m honoured that the investigative journalist Kevin Gosztola has promoted “Song for Shaker Aamer,” played by my band The Four Fathers, as his “Protest Song of the Week” on Shadowproof, the website he set up three months ago, after FireDogLake, where he’d been working for several years, ceased operations.

It is wonderful to have a serious political website actively promoting protest music, as the gutting of politics from music is one of the more baleful developments in the dumbing-down of culture over the last two decades. Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, politics permeated music. A common reference point was the social and political upheaval of the 1960s, and my adolescence also coincided with the politics of the punk and post-punk period, with particularly significant songs being the Clash’s “London Calling” and the Specials’ “Ghost Town.”

I’m delighted that “Song for Shaker Aamer” is being celebrated by Shadowproof. Check out the other “Protest Songs of the Week” here, including, recently, “Omar” by “riot folk” singer-songwriter Ryan Harvey, about the refugee crisis, and “Innocent Criminals” by the Palestinian hip-hop group DAM.

Kevin has asked to interview me for Shadowproof about protest music and my take on it, so I’ll refrain from saying any more just now, except to direct readers to The Four Fathers’ debut album, “Love and War,” available to download, or on CD. You can listen to any of the songs, buy them individually, or buy the album as an 8-track download, or as a CD with two extra tracks, one of which is “Masters of War,” by another musician who brought politics into music — Bob Dylan, whose political songwriting was particularly prominent in the early 1960s, but has frequently resurfaced since.

As well as including “Song for Shaker Aamer,” The Four Fathers’ “Love and War” includes the following political songs:

Fighting Injustice (my rousing new roots reggae anthem defending socialism and opposing the criminal bankers and the greed of the housing crisis)
81 Million Dollars (my call for those responsible for the US torture program to be held accountable)
Tory Bullshit Blues (my warning of the dangers of the Tories and UKIP)
City of Dreams (my countryish lament for the London destroyed by Thatcher)

Writing of “Song for Shaker Aamer,” Kevin Gosztola noted that what “perhaps makes [the song] so enduring is how it pays tribute to the man who dissented and resisted from within Guantánamo all throughout his detention. He led hunger strikes and spoke out for the human rights of prisoners.”

Kevin added:

In fact, the song opens with Aamer’s voice, which was recorded by a “60 Minutes” crew. He is heard crying, “Please we are tired. Either you leave us to die in peace or either you tell the world truth. Open up the place. Let the world come and visit.”

Aamer’s words punctuate the song, giving it more gravitas and affirming why he is one of the more inspirational men to have been detained at Guantánamo.

Below is the campaign video for the We Stand With Shaker campaign, launched last November by Andy and Joanne MacInnes, featuring “Song for Shaker”:

And below is a version recorded live at a band rehearsal last Saturday, with the lyrics amended to reflect Shaker’s release:

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, 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.

7 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Lindis Percy wrote:

    Rightly nominated – well done all! xx

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    Great news 🙂 x

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Lindis and Ruth. Great to hear from you both!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Gosztola wrote:

    Thanks for sharing the post, Andy! It’s a pleasure to share your music. I really enjoy it and think it deserves a wider audience.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Greatly appreciated, Kevin. I’m very interested in getting it out to a wider audience, but it’s an uphill struggle – just like everything else, then! I’m appalled at how the dark forces at the heart of modern capitalism have largely removed politics from music since the 80s, but I’m happily swimming against the current. I’ve just written a song about habeas corpus, and I’m currently writing a song about closing Guantanamo. You might also be interested in ’81 Million Dollars’, about the US torture program: https://thefourfathers.bandcamp.com/track/81-million-dollars

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Congratulations, guys! Well deserved honor!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. Good to hear from 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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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