I was one of the children of Iraqi Ghazoo. Invasion. This is the way it was called. This is how i explained it to my baby sister then. and this is the way im describing it to every one who asks, and every one who will listen, and to every generation of my future children and grandchildren Insha2 Allah…
I remember the sheer happiness of us returning tommorow to Q8 on the night of 1 August 1990. I remember we spent that night packing and cutting the St Michelle tags off our newly bought clothes from M&S UK… i remember me coming up with a chant for my brother and sister about us returnng to Q8. Mom hates that chant now. Thinks its bad luck.
I remember our drive to Heathrow. I remember my parents and my aunt and uncle looking for Kuwait Airways flight to Q8 counter… I remember the british lady explaining it to us “Kuwait? Now there is no Kuwait. You are Refujees Now, the best you can get is a ticket to Oman or Bahrain…”
I remember our black cab ride back to london, to grandpa’s place. I remember my dad’s grave face, his silence as he has one hand over his cheeks, completly lost in thought. I remember the tearful q8y’s, some with their luggage, sitting outside of NBK Edgeware Road.
I remember moving several times until we settled in our last rented apartment. The estate agent guy was an iraqi names Dhya2… i remember us kids chanting around home “Death to Saddam… Death To Iraq” whenever he showed his face and our parents were not around.
I remember the feeling of being lost forever, not having a place you call home. Not belonging. The sheer meaning of the word Refujee every one so coldly and carelessly threw in our faces. I remember the day it was decided that we resume school in public schools in London, me crying my eyes out on my pillow because… the day i start school here, that’s it, i am not going back home soon.
I remember my fathers tears while listening to a tape sent to him by our family inside Q8. I remember and i remember and i remember.
I remember the ride back home. I remember coming to our ransacked home and our fathers warning not to touch anything in fear of it having mines or bombs. I remember every single thing in our house being strewn around. and i remember never wanting to get out of it again. But we had to spend the night over at grandma’s
I remember the day we had to go back to school. How we heard of the schools having buried mines and how children lost their limps. I was scared to my core and avoided any sand or strange objects for years. I remember my classmates, the girl who couldnt sleep at night, who had to go every other day to some brain clinic to measure something, because she stopped sleeping the day she saw a young q8y man hanged in the space infront of her house. I remember my other friend who recalls of the day she was sick, her father had taken her in the middle of the night to the hospital, only to be stopped by iraqi troops, him being roughly taken out of his car and threatened to kill him infront of his hysterical girl, just for the fun of it.
and i remember my poor classmate in King Fahad Academy, whose father has went back to Q8 to get his daughters in there, only to never be found again. Until this day. No one every knew what happened to him. Nothing. Nada. I remember her and her other sister, in the playground, imagining what to do if their father suddenly walks through the door. I cannot describe it as i am in tears now.
I remember the destruction. The pain. The emptiness. The loss. The detachment. I remember and i remember and i remember. and i was barely 10 years old then.
and i can never forget. i was one of the luckiest q8y’s out there. I had almost my whole family abroad in UK with me. My dad worked and provided for us. We had a roof. We saw nothing. Yet im still filled with bitter pain.
I cannot even begin to describe how the ones in Q8 felt.
and we are still dealing with the aftermath. People have suddenly woken up to find themselves in the middle of a vicious war with barbaric invaders. Everything was gone. Then suddenly, q8 was back, on 26 February 1991 Kuwait was freed. But broken and bleeding. We had to start from scratch. But that carefree happy go lucky q8y spirit has long gone with the last iraqi soldier out of here. People have suddenly seen death in the face. They have been shocked to their core.
People are not the same people. Q8y’s are no longer the same q8y’s with the old values and virtues and dreams and kindness.
and i for one will never forget what this day means to me.
and none of you should either… even if u were not born yet…
P.S. M&S which all of u know, asked all q8ys in the uk during ghazoo to bring back their clothing for refunds even if it was without reciepts and the st michelle tags cut off… it was their way of helping q8ys during il ghazoo who needed money abroad… just so the future generations know