Close Guantanamo Music Video, Dedicated to Pete Seeger

by Stephen Longfellow Fiske

Dear Friends,

Here is a music video project, Close Guantanamo, which I have just completed with videographer Robert Corsini. The project is based upon the song, Guantanamera (I have changed the lyrics to fit the cause), and is dedicated to Pete Seeger.

I only had the privilege of meeting Pete Seeger a couple times, but his life, presence and way of delivering songs made a lasting impression upon me and I have modeled much of my performance style after him. This project would be something that I’m sure he might do himself, or support and endorse. At this time of his passing, I feel his spirit with this project.

I first heard the song, Guantanamera, from Pete Seeger. The lilting, romantic melody immediately captured me and the song was unforgettable. It was a popular song in Cuba, descriptive of the writer’s romantic vision of a young woman of Guantanamo. Over the years, the song became the framework for poets and musicians to express themselves. Often the expressions reflected a romantic closeness to the land, solidarity with common people and those who are less fortunate and oppressed, social sentiments, as well as capturing the tonality and melodic beauty of the place.

At a meeting of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP), when the subject of Guantanamo prison was being discussed, Reverend Ignacio Consuela suggested that, “Fiske should write new lyrics to Guantanamera reflecting closing Guantanamo.” I took the challenge and with the support of ICUJP, the result is the music video, Close Guantanamo.

Guantanamo Prison represents the lowest levels that human intention and endeavor can reach. The violence, the war consciousness, the torture, the inhumanity, the violation of rights, the damage of the spectacle to our international relations, the cost in dollars, and the emotional and psychological cost to the collective consciousness of humanity should never be what a democracy creates. Guantanamo sits like a cancerous tumor metastasized through the military/industrial/corporate system, which builds empire through the war machine. Any righteous human being of conscience and some semblance of humanity would condemn the nightmare of Guantanamo.

Please listen and watch, and if you wish, share it in your communities and circles, and remember how Pete would say, “Sing it Out”. As President Obama inches closer to his pledge to close Guantanamo, may this work serve as some small catalyst in that direction.

Yours in Peace,