These toys were a special gift that I received this Eid. Yesterday afternoon I was taking a nap when the doorbell rang. At the door was former Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer.
In his hands were these two toys that he had brought for my young nieces and nephews as a gift on this, his first Eid in the community after 14 years in custody.
Someone had abandoned them on a pavement near his house. He thought that my nieces and nephews would love to play with them, so he picked them up, washed them thoroughly and drove all the way to my house just to drop them off.
We exchanged stories about our respective Eid experiences from our time in prison, his in Guantanamo Bay and mine in a US Supermax prison.
We soon realised that we both shared one thing in common about Eid: we were always happy on Eid despite our circumstances.
Our captors had taken our liberties away from us but they were unable to take away the happiness of our Eid.
So to me these toys represent the essence of Eid: to make the best of your situation.
Whatever your personal circumstances, whatever struggles you are facing in your life, whatever your worries, be happy today. Today is your day. You have earned it. You deserve it.
And don’t forget to spare a prayer for the thousands of Muslim detainees all over the world who are celebrating Eid today in custody.
May Allah accept your deeds this month and bless you and your families with joy and happiness.
Just like the poet Omar Khayyam once said: “Be happy for this moment. For this moment is your life.”
Eid Mubarak everyone…
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