Shaker Aamer

Album: Single Release Only (2013)

Songfacts®:

  • This bluesy protest song is titled after the British national who has been imprisoned by the US in Guantanamo Bay since 2002. Aamer was arrested in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on November 24, 2001 and sent to Guantánamo on February 14, 2002. It is alleged that Aamer led a unit of fighters in Afghanistan, while his family was paid a stipend by Osama bin Laden. Despite being cleared for release in 2007 by President George W. Bush and again in 2009 by President Barack Obama he remains in Guantanamo without trial or charge.
  • The song describes in detail what Aamer endured during his four month hunger strike including the prison's feeding tubes, restraining chairs and shackles. According to The Guardian, Harvey wrote the track to "maintain pressure to have the 46-year-old released back to Britain. Concerns remain, however, that Aamer might be forcibly sent to (his birth place of) Saudi Arabia and imprisoned there instead of being reunited with his family in the UK."
  • Aamer was finally released to Great Britain on October 30, 2015.

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