Today marks the 16th anniversary of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. On that day, I woke up to fighter jets. My mom snuck into my room and took my boombox radio because TV wasn’t working and no one else in the house had a radio. We huddled and worried and cried. Weeks later, I wore my rockin’ fuschia pants, lime green hightops, and a black t-shirt, and we– my dad, mom, brother, sister, 2 cousins, uncle, aunt, and a woman, man, and their 20-year-old son, Canadians we were helping escape with forged documents– piled into a minivan and a sedan, and fled the country with our bare necessities. We went north, through Iraq, and stopped at various checkpoints. I had never seen Iraq before. It was beautiful and warm. Then we drove through Jordan, where my immediate family stayed for a night before we flew to Egypt.
I can’t believe it’s been 16 years. An exodus can expand in your memory so comfortably.
I’ve wondered so many times: who would I have become if I hadn’t experienced that? My family would have never moved to the US. I would have finished high school in Kuwait and gone to university in Lebanon. I would never have met my friends…or my son’s father. I would never have had my son. I would be so different.
So on the day they hang Saddam for all his sins, many will dance. Many will weep with pity, sadness, and relief. Many will turn their eyes. I will do all three.