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New P.J. Harvey song takes on Guantanamo Bay prison system

The politically engaged British pop musician PJ Harvey


Shaker Aamer
By P.J. Harvey, streaming here

In 1975, Bob Dylan wrote Hurricane, a protest song exposing the plight of a railroaded prizefighter who was twice convicted of murder – and who "sits like Buddha in a 10-foot cell, an innocent man in a living hell." Unlike the eventually freed Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Saudi national Shaker Aamer has been imprisoned for 11 years and has never even been charged, let alone received a trial. The last remaining British resident detained at the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Aamer is the titular subject of a riveting, required song from P.J. Harvey, the socially engaged English alt-rocker who determinedly strums while singing a crushingly forlorn postcard-ish appeal from the point of view of a despondent detainee. "With metal tubes, we are force fed/ I honestly wish, I was dead." Hurricane's cell may have been hell, but at least it came with due process.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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