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Liberation Day 1991.

  • for the several nights before the actual day of libertion i remember thinking that something was different.
  • since the start of the offensive in january the iraqis posted in the school opposite our house were still kinda chilled out. they’d fire their anti-aircraft guns up into the sky whenever they saw jets passing overhead. a bit of a pointless endevour since you couldnt even see the jets. sometimes when they flew lower, but still too far to see the insignia, we’d laugh at the sound of iraqi rifle fire, thinking man they must be either stupid or really scared.
  • well, they were both.
  • you see, after the iran-iraq war, where a couple of generations of trained soldiers died, there simply werent any more “men” to populate the army anymore. those that remained were in the elite and brutal republican guard, and by the time the bombing had started almost all of them had been recalled back to baghdad. saddam actually thought the US would put boots on the ground there.
  • occasionally we used go to the bakery around the corner. it was there that we’d come face to face with what the BBC world service were calling the 6th largest army in the world.
  • i was 13 at the time.
  • they werent that much older.
  • despite the fact that they wore a uniform, and had cheap ass plastic sandals (instead of boots), and that they shared one gun between two soldiers, it was easy to identify with them as we were both going thru puberty in the middle of a fucking war that neither of us could have forseen a few months ago.
  • around the evening of the 22nd the makeshift barraks they occupied in the school started getting busy. peering out of our window we could see dozens of trucks stoppipng at the school. people got out, more got in, alot of them carrying stuff they’d looted.
  • the war was barely a month old, and since we had hunkered down for a long street battle we didnt really think much of it. a street war was the worst possible scenario but we prepared for it anyway,…… enough supplies to last us a while, and a properly planned escape route thru our kitchen window out the back incase the fighting took place outside or even inside our house.
  • the 23rd started off scarey as fuck. shouts and gun shots could be heard from the mosque round the corner. the sound of even more trucks reverberated thru our windows as they rummbled past our front door. later our palestinian neighbours would come round telling us to stay indoors, the iraqis had rounded up everyone from the mosques and taken them god knows where. what freightened us was that they werent just taking the kuwaitis,…… anyone, philipinos, indians, pakistanis, bengalis,……
  • that night none of us slept.
  • i cant remember what time it was, but it was early on the 24th, still dark outside,….. except for the fahaheel highway which was lit up with the headlights of trucks moving towards the city. it was nothing like we’d seen since the first day of this ordeal.
  • that told us something was up.
  • we got all reved up thinking “holy crap! the americans are here already!”
  • its a good thing we managed to keep our heads and didnt run out to greet the americans,…. uhhh cos it werent them, yet.
  • the iraqis had pulled back from the fighting in the south, and those left in kuwait were jumping into their trucks and just about any vehicle in order to get back up to iraq. i would imagine that quite a few of them would wind up in death alley, otherwise known as mutlaa.
  • we waited till daylight broke, and we started seeing locals on the street wandering around,….. you never did that during the occupation, so something was different. my dad was the first out the door, and i think he spoke to our palestinian neighbours who told him the war was over.
  • later that day we decided to drive around town, and somehow we wound up following everyone else onto the highway between hawally and rawda.
  • we got out of the car and joined the rest of the people in the street jumping up and down on the burnt out iraqi tanks that littered the streets. waving at the brits that were driving their tanks into kuwait city.
  • standing on that tank, all of 13 years old, i realised something: nothing smells sweeter than freedom. a cliche i know but its a cliche for a reason.
  • and nothing feels better than watching justice being carried out.
  • the thought that these strangers in uniform who i’ve never met, and who i’ll probably never meet again, had come all the way here to fight to free us both puzzled and amazed me. when i started reading about the ones that had died there was nothing else i could do but look up at the sky hoping they were somewhere nicer now.
  • the invasion made me come to terms with my own mortality.
  • you only really appreciate life when you really understand what it means to die before your time.
  • liberation day showed me that there is justice in the world, but you have to fight for it. and unfortunately it doesnt come cheap.
  • so if youre not fighting, if youre sitting on the fence, then youre just as much a part of the problem as the guy with a belt of explosives around his chest.
  • so to the families of the fallen, and the families of those in service, military and civilian alike, you’ll never know how much i owe your boys and girls for making me who i am today. and i’ll never be able to repay you for your sacrifices.
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7 Comments

  1. Very powerful and memorable piece, Skunk. You made me cry. I know more now about what makes you tick (besides money!) and I am very happy to be your blogging friend.

  2. amazing post
    very touching
    happy liberation day

  3. hehe awww thanks xpat, that post was harder to write than i thought it would be.
    but yeah money is secondary to having the freedom to live the way you want to live, but then again you do need money to do that so maybe not secondary but complimentary to what makes me tick šŸ˜›

    esgda3wa, welcome to my blog, or welcome back šŸ˜› and thanks for your kind words.
    happy liberation day to you too!

  4. May Allah accept our martyrs who were killed by saddam’s dogs

  5. extremely well written, my friend.

    although i’ve never truly “experienced” independence in singapore when it happened (a few years before i was born), your post made me feel what it was like.

  6. of that i’m certain hitman.

    welcome premster, and thanks for the compliments :D.

  7. Hitman1’s comment is simply funny!

    Very touching post.


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