Kuwait: Invasion Memories Live On

Kuwait Times

Kuwait, Aug 3: Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of black Thursday. Some expatriates who were living in Kuwait in 1990 experienced the invasion firsthand while others stared perplexed at TV reports from Kuwait. Many participated in defending the country together with some Kuwaiti resistance groups. "I have many sad memories from that period of time, but not as bad as other people. Nobody from my family was injured or killed," said 37-year-old Khadeeja, from Lebanon. She goes on to explain that her Lebanese neighbor who worked with the resistance was arrested by the Iraqis. "Just a few years ago they brought her remains back in a coffin," Khadeeja said.

Khadeeja remained in Kuwait during the whole seven months of the invasion. She lived through the shortages of food, the atrocities and the fight for liberation. "The Iraqis took everything from the co-ops a few days after the invasion. This made people rush to supermarkets and co-ops during the first days to buy food and store it. They also tried to get cash from the banks before they were closed," she said. She has vivid memories of an incident with one Iraqi soldier. He would knock on the doors of all th
e flats in her building and take lamps and other small things. The thumping on the door still echoes down the corridor of her building, she said. "Also, the school near our house was like a storage area for cars that were stolen by the Iraqi soldiers. They would also steal radios and tires from vehicles and leave the loot there," she added.

Almost 20 years later, memories of the invasion have not faded and some comic situations have come to the fore. At the beginning of the invasion, people could take as much bread as they needed from the bakery on a daily basis. Later, there was a shortage of wheat and rations were introduced. One person could only get five pieces of bread, Khadeeja said, adding that some people stood in queue masked in a burqa (face cover for women), trying to look different every time so they could not be recognized in order to take more bread for their families. "We were also forced to get IDs called 'Arab Affairs IDs.' If we didn't carry these IDs, we could get into trouble," Khadeeja said.

The invasion holds many scary memories for many who were children then. "I was eight years old when it happened. I remember that I was wearing a dress with the Kuwaiti flag on it and my father used to take me for rides down the streets. Nothing happened to us at that time, but later, my father was arrested by the Iraqis and was tortured and imprisoned for two months. Until this day, the scars caused by the torture on his arms and legs are visible," said Fatma, 26, from Kuwait.

Fatma's father was working with a group from the resistance. He had a shop in Hawally and continued to work there during the occupation. He had many friends who were Kuwaiti officers who were hiding their uniforms at his house. "My father was working with the resistance groups who were delivering weapons and hiding Kuwaiti officers. He was worried about us, so he took us to Iran, and on his way back, the Iraqis arrested him and held him in captivity. After two months, he escaped when a large group of Kuwait prisoners were killed by the Iraqis. He pretended to be dead and after the horde of Iraqis left, he managed to escape. He then followed us to Iran, and the whole family returned after the liberation," she recalled.

The Iraqi invasion changed the lives of many people. Many died, many were taken as prisoners, and others had to leave the country. "We had a good life. We had a private business here and I was going to study in a university in the United States. However, when the invasion happened, my parents' bank accounts were frozen and I had to leave with them to Syria. I then studied there and now I'm back in Kuwait, but my parents didn't come back because they lost everything they had here," said Suha, a 36-year old Syrian woman. "Our lives very much changed for the worse.


Top Stories

Leave a Comment

Title: Kuwait: Invasion Memories Live On

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.