Guantamano Bay – still there 8 years later

It has passed us all by without a second thought.  The 8th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo bay was two days ago.  Did you hear about it in the news? Did you see the protests outside embassies around the world? No? Nor did I!

For those like the daughter of Shaker Aamer, it was a very real reminder of living without her father.

Shaker is one of 198 in-mates still being held like animals in Guantanamo Bay, facing daily torture and unrest. Most of these men are no longer there because the US wants them to be, but because European states refuse to accept them.  Many EU states have taken positive steps to offer safe havens for inmates in line with the EU-US joint agreement on the closer of Guantanamo.  The role of honour includes, France, Ireland, Hungary and Belgium.  Many Member States however, continue a pubic rhetoric of calling for the closer of the detention centre whilst refusing to cooperate in the return of the inmates. 

Many of those still held come from countries such as Syria, Tunisia and China where they would face severe risk of torture if they were to be returned. 

It looks as though the detention centre will remain open well past the 22nd January, a year after Obama promised its closure.  Sadly it is this Obama media “hook” that has kept it out of the news this past week. A bit of Obama bashing is far more appealing to our media than highlighting the truth that it is up to the governments of countries like the UK to offer these inmates a safe haven to rebuild their lives.  I am willing to put my house on it (if I had one)…that on the 22nd Jan, this story will be everywhere in the news. 

Guantanamo Bay remains one of the worst examples of injustice and cruelty of our age.  Yet, our media (and human rights organisations) would rather wait a couple of weeks to get a good “hook” than to call for action today. For us two weeks will fly by, but for the inmates in Guantanamo where a minute feels like an hour, two weeks might feel like quite a long time!


Filed under Human rights

2 responses to “Guantamano Bay – still there 8 years later

  1. Pingback: 10 years of foreign policy that has included secret detention, torture and rendition – the legacy of the Tony Blair/George Bush tag team | Hynd's Blog

  2. Here is a copy Johina Aamer’s letter to Gordon Brown

    Taken from

    Dear Gordon Brown,

    I hope you are in good health. I am writing to ask you for my father’s release. As you might know, my father has been away for 8 years, he was taken away since I was four years old. It has been most of my life.

    My brother Faris has never seen his father and misses him a lot. Sometimes he thinks other people are his father. Once a man came to do our garden, Faris (has) a lot of fun and laughs with him. When he left, Faris asked my Mum, “Is that my Dad?” He has never felt what it’s like to be with a father or to go out with him. Faris has had no experience at all of what it’s like to have a father just like every child does.

    My mother is very patient but sometimes when she misses him too much she gets depressed. My mother is also a psychiatric patient. Whenever she gets depressed we have to go to my grandparents’ house where my grandparents look after her. When she is ill she is in bed day and night and can’t do much. I really hate it when she gets depressed.

    At school, when it is time to go home, most of the children have their fathers pick them up which makes me miss him even more. I never really go[t] to do things with my father.

    Also there is no reason for my father to be in prison. There have never been any charges made against him and he is innocent. My father has suffered for eight years in prison for no reason. I hope there can be a change now. He has got so many illnesses such as asthma and many physical problems. He is also the only British resident there.

    I take that you understand this as a father and a husband. Nobody would like to be separated from their fathers or mothers. It is not nowhere near fun to be without a father we’ve missed so much.

    I hope this letter can make a difference and that my father is released as soon as possible.

    Thank you.


    Johina Aamer
    Daughter of Shaker Aamer


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