Running Away from Invasion

In the early morning of the second of August 1990, when parents took their children to school, when the people went to work, when families did their chores, Kuwait woke up surprised by the horrible, scary, and awful news that Iraq had invaded Kuwait. Although I understood what was happening, I could not understand why Iraq had attacked Kuwait. I was living in my grandmother’s house because my family was traveling for summer vacation except my father and I remained in Kuwait. The invasion period took approximately six months, and when my father made his decision to leave Kuwait in the middle of the injustice, destruction, and killing events etc.. He asked me to choose either to remain in my grandmother’s house and stay in Kuwait or to leave the country. At my age at that time, it was really hard for me to make a crucial decision to leave my country and leave every single beautiful memory behind. But the reality was I need to make my own decision and decided to leave the country in order to escape the invasion.

First of all, making a decisive decision sometimes could take us to the right points and sometimes it is forces us to do it for many reasons. Before the invasion we were living in peace, calm, and wonderful events every day. My father was in my uncle’s house, and called me asking if I was ok or if I needed anything; we just lived as normal people life. In the morning of the invasion, I woke to the sounds of bombs, armored vehicles, guns, explosions, and weapons from every scary corner. Everyone was screaming in my grandmother’s house, scared, and did not even know what had happened and how we could save ourselves from the aggressive invasion of Kuwait; even I could not grasp what was happening until I asked my aunt and she told me that Iraq had invaded Kuwait. I seemed like I was dreaming; I did not want to believe her. My hands were shaking, my heartbeat ran very fast. My mother had just left the country one day before with my siblings for their vacation. In spite of the destruction, killing, and massacres, the question still was what they wanted from us. Hundreds of thousands of Kuwaitis’ families were prisoners, and they had been taken through the brutal occupation and thousands of hostages had been pulled from their homes and sent them to Iraqi prisons.

After seven days of the Iraqi invasion, the radio news from Kuwait broadcast that Kuwait by declaration had been annexed to the territory of Iraq, which meant Kuwait had become one of Iraq’s provinces, which belonged to Iraq. Day after day, Kuwait country and Kuwaiti’s people became in a bad conditions and bad deterioration. In spite of all these attacks, and the torture and killing of people of the land of Kuwait, we appreciated Kuwaiti resistance groups and their official role against the Iraqi brutal enemy. We became more united, creative, and brave to defend ourselves and protect our country. But we were still scared and thinking of escaping. One month after I made my own decision my dad told me to pack my suitcase and get ready to leave home.


In the morning at four o'clock, we might survive or we might all die, but my father explained what we were supposed to do and that I should follow my father’s rules. Our direction started from Kuwait to the Iraq border. I really can’t forget these dangerous phases. In fact for me, I felt like it was a movie. We were about ten to twelve people in the car and each one carried a fake Iranian passport, and followed each other. During our adventure- I call it adventure because it was a hard adventure- my father reminded us to remain quiet, and request the Lord to save us from distress and fear. After many miles and long destination, it was hard for me to leave my country that way. I felt so sad. We started to approach the Iraq border because it was the only border open at that time. There were many people crossing the border, and there were horrible circumstances, and cruel, nasty, and foolish soldiers. Everyone was laughing loudly at us and saying bad words in front of us, trying to provoke us. My father and I were really nervous and everyone was scared, but we believed that there was no solution until we defeated and bear enemy difficulties and begged the Lord. We crossed Shat Al-Arab Sea so we were close to reaching the Iran- Iraq border. Between those two countries there was only one-way, which was not in fact a road. It was sand, so we crossed the desert. I remembered how my father faced that risk when he was driving because we were about ten to twelve people, who were our neighbors in Kuwait, and the car’s engine was touching the ground and that could stop us at anytime and might get us in trouble. But, thankfully, everything was safe until we arrived at the Iran- Iraq border. I remembered that was the worst conditions when I felt like I might be taken from my family as a prisoner or might miss someone related to my family in that time. Because, that what was happening in front of my eyes. I was watching each family was missing a person from their family. We were coming closer and closer until we reached the Iraqi military base in order to enter Iran. Last but not least, after accessing Iran, we stayed about one week, and our feeling when we arrived in Iran was much better because we passed the most dangerous path in Iraq. In Iran, most of the time was spent at home in order to avoid problems and stay safe. The people were kind and the food was so delicious; I remembered the city called Shiraz was a really beautiful place, where was in the north of Iran; each house has fruits trees and small fountain.

Next, we traveled to Dubai by plane. My father called my uncle to pick us up from the airport. I was so happy and crying at the same time my feelings were combined in fact.  My father promised me that we would surprise my mother and siblings when we arrived in Egypt. Therefore, our stay in Dubai (Ajman) was very short. My uncle welcomed us in his house in Ajman. We spent just a few days in Dubai. We were so tired, and we did not have enough time to stay longer. My uncle wanted us to stay more days with him because he was so excited to hear how we passed the border and moved from Kuwait until we had arrived in Dubai.

Finally, it was the time to meet my family again after six months. Egypt was our last destination, one of the countries that welcomed a lot of Kuwaiti people at that time. Egyptian people were treating us as one union and family; they were so kind and friendly, and the most frequent question they were asking us since we arrived was how was Kuwait conditions? Every time we heard bad news about Kuwait until the moment arrived for happiness and cheerfulness for Kuwaiti people on Liberation Day. I could not really forget those moments when I met a lot of my friends and I made a lot of friends. When we were in Egypt, we watched news on T.V. which informed us that Kuwait become free. So we hung out and sang national songs about Kuwait; and we walked the street demonstrating about Liberation Day, and the Egyptian people shared the happiness with us. It was the best moment ever in my life.

Nourah Shaishtar

Northridge, CA

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