“You are the soul of my life. You are the best of my heart. You are the light of my eyes. You are the oxygen in my lungs, you are the sun on my back, the sweetest taste of my mouth you are everything you are everything I need to live, to love, to be… Do you know how much you are important for my life. If you break I will break, if you become weak I will become weak and if you go I will go. You are my soul twin. I need you to be strong.”
From a letter written by Guantanamo Bay detainee Shaker Aamer to his wife / family
Shaker Aamer has been held at Guantanao Bay for nearly 10 years. He has never faced trial, or even been accused of any crimes. A story by The Independent revealed that the UK Government has spent £274,345 fighting Aamer in court, including preventing his lawyers viewing evidence that may prove his innocence and end more than a decade in US custody.
What I love about these Aamer’s words is that they help me cut past the tacky, commercial nature of this faux-holiday and be reminded that the emotion of ‘love’ can hold such a powerful meaning for a person and that it can literarily become a life line. It is easy to forget all this as we simply go through the motions and gestures of acts of love. It is easy to loose sight and feeling for the feelings of love, a longing and gentle openness to another, a memory – imaginary, fictitious, but nevertheless concrete in the emotions it creates, the heartbeats it inspires, the courage it gives birth to. Here, in the midst of our American made horror, live and breath souls that feel love and hold onto it every day simply to remain sane, and alive. How many of us can claim to feel such a love?
Shaker Aamer’s only crime seems to have been that he was what Daryl Li has called ‘…Muslim out of place…’ i.e. an Arab man in a country he ‘should not’ be in and hence suspected of being there for ‘terrorism’ activities. A Li explains in his paper A Universal Enemy? Legal Regimes of Exclusion and Exemption Under the ‘Global War on Terror’ that:
The application of a poorly defined category such as “foreign fighter” to a complex empirical reality of many different “foreign” Muslims necessarily occasions a set of particularly thorny, if not outright confused, problems of governance. Just as the standard refrain that one must distinguish between “moderate” (good) Muslims and “radical” (bad) Muslims presupposes the need to know all Muslims, the concern over foreign (Muslim) fighters necessarily renders (Muslim) foreigners into a categorical object that needs to be known and appropriately dealt with. Before long, however, the object of knowledge as constructed – Muslim foreigners – becomes a source of anxiety in itself. This is the problem of what can be called “Muslims out of place.” Details »