Statement issued by Shaker Aamer on the occasion of the 12th Anniversary of Guantánamo Bay (January 11, 2014)

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Fri, Jan 10, 2014

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To be read at actions around the country on January 11th:

Today is the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Guantánamo Bay. It has been a blot on the reputation of America, and will remain that until, first, it is closed, and second, lessons are learned from it that can help prevent any repetition in the decades to come.

It will soon be 12 years that I have been in Guantánamo. I arrived on the day my youngest child Faris was born (February 14th, 2002). Even then, I had already spent some two months in US captivity, undergoing terrible mistreatment. Those are twelve years that are lost to me forever.

What I have missed most has been the opportunity to do my part to fill up my four children’s reservoir of love. The early years of a child’s life is a parent’s best chance to show them what love is, before they become more distant with approaching adulthood. Losing this, my opportunity and obligation, is my greatest regret.

However, we must look forward, rather than backwards. Even though British agents supported the Americans in my abuse, I wish them no ill. I do not even want to see them punished. I want only to come home to my family so that I can try to make up to them what I have been unable to provide for all these years.

I am on hunger strike once more. The US military wants to repress the truth about Guantánamo, but the truth will always come out. Others suffer even more than I do. All hunger strikers in Camp VI are now being brought over for a dose of the worst medicine the military can provide here – Camp V Echo, the Alcatraz of Guantánamo Bay. The cells are all steel, and the metal chills the bones as if you are trying to sleep in a refrigeration unit. They now punish us with force feeding, and they punish us with hypothermia, all because we call for justice.

Yet justice will be restored – justice must be restored.

I must say one thing to people out there about January 11: My biggest fear is that someone will do something stupid on the anniversary. When anyone does something wrong on the outside, we on the inside have to pay the price for it. When there was that incident in Yemen, the Americans banned the Yemenis from going home – even though it had nothing to do with the Yemenis here in Guantánamo Bay. I am grateful to those who support us. But if anyone wants to demonstrate on our behalf against the black stain that is Guantánamo, please do it in good faith and good humour, and above all practice no violence.


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  • Anonymous

    We have to have compassion. Close this place of “living in limbo” and either charge these men with a crime and have their trials, or let them go home. Enough is enough. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • mikey

    didn’t our dear president promise to close Gitmo during his first administration? That’s more than just sloppy work.

  • Anonymous

    Geezus, how many times do people have to be reminded that when Pres. Obama tried closing Guantanamo the Republicans had a fit and refused to appropriate money for the closure and transfer. Then there was the non-decision of whether those to be triad should be under military or public courts. Then there were the citizens themselves, and I happened to be in Illinois and passed by the town where a proposed prison location for the detainees was available, and the locals didn’t like it because they were afraid that that was too close for their comfort, never mind that we’ve already had other prisoners safely in jails from the 1993 WTC bombing.

  • Jay Becker

    Pres Obama has the authority to release all the men who have been cleared for release (more than 70) right now, on his own authority. Geezus, how many times do we have to hear more apologies for a president who can manage to ‘stand up to Congress’ to kill innocent civilians with drones but not release innocent men from a torture camp!

  • http://www.englishclassonskype.com/ Judy Epstein

    My heart goes out to Shaker. Why oh why isn’t Obama releasing those at Guantanamo who have been cleared for release??

  • Anonymous

    Guantanamo is a travesty. That it was opened in the first place and remains open breaks my heart. I am horrified by the treatment of the prisoners, in violation of the Geneva Convention. It is time to close it and send these people home.

  • Lorena Elletson

    Thank you Shaker. You are all very brave and I admire you. The real terrorist are in the US and other governments who have so much blood on their hands that their refusal to join the ICC is logical. I do hope you will all be released soon as you have been promised. Much love, Lorena in Spain

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