BABAR AHMED – AN AFTERNOON WITH SHAKER AAMER

shaker aamer

By Babar Ahmed

The other day I spent the afternoon with former Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer, one of many such days I have spent with him since his release 6 months ago. Whenever we travel together on the bus or train, he is always helping the disabled, elderly and mothers with pushchairs get on and off.

It is a testament to his open heart and strength of character that this man has no anger or bitterness in his heart, despite what he has been through.

Looking at the way this man lives, one would never know that this man spent 14 years in Guantanamo Bay without charge. That the scars on his smiling face were caused when he was repeatedly rammed against barbed wire by his captors. That his captors threatened to violate his then 5-year old daughter.

They failed to turn him into an angry, bitter person full of hatred and revenge.

Not once does he complain about what happened to him. All the stories that he relates to me from his time in Guantanamo Bay relate to humour or humanity. All of our conversations are about how beautiful life, and freedom, is.

Despite what he has been through, this man has not allowed himself to be defined by victimhood. In that is a lesson for us all. We cannot always choose what others do to us. But we can always choose whether we want to be defined as victims. Or survivors.

Follow my blog on life, prison, heroes and survivors and more at babarahmad.com

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