Ninrteen Ninety'

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Nineteen Ninety’


During my deep sleep, dreaming of myself in my first day of college. To be specific dreaming about my first day at the great University of Kuwait. The dream had everything. My dad wishing me luck while kissing my right cheek, my mom praying God to keep me safe throughout the day, and my older brother, being the typical Salem(????) he is, teasing me about being finally a college student. The dream was so realistic. It somehow felt as if I was in the real world, but not in my vivid dreams. Unfortunately, that cheerful dream of mine didn’t last long. It was interrupted by the crucial act. The deadly, dirty, Iraqi, BOMB.

August 2, 1990, the day I lost both my beloved country and Yaqoob(?????). My sweet, strong, supportive father. Just after I woke up I ran to my parent’s room, and on my way there I was disrupted by the loud gunshots, the raid of our house and the break of our front door. A group of men invaded our house while shouting my father’s name. one of them screamed right to my face about where were we hiding my father but just before I could speak the sound of my father announcing that he is here, and the loud cries of my moms confused me. I remember pausing in the middle of our living room not getting any point of whatever I’m seeing. At some points, I thought that I was still in my dreams. But what a dream that took 6 months to end. One of the violent soldiers pushed my mom’s hands that were holding tight to my father’s arms. Things seemed weird to me. Me, Sbeecha(?????), the girl of the famous governor, Yaqoob Jassem, have someone invade her own property and take her father away. With no explanation given.

Salem came running from outside shouting words like “leave my country, Kuwait will always be lead by his honor, Jaber Al-Sabah” and just after he realized that they have my father with them his voice got even louder. My mind started realizing things and its first actions were non-stopping tears. I ran to my mom’s arms to have a type of safety.  One of the soldiers spoke to Salem, calmly with a slight smile “either you correspond with us and our rules or you’ll have your parents or at least your sweet mother go search for your shattered body all over the New Kuwait or shall I say, “Governorate 19”. All I could remember is the faces of the evil soldiers, the shocked face of my brother, and the continuous sound of my mom’s tears.

  After that, my dad’s last words were spoken. “My dear Salem please take care of your mom and Sbeecha. Don’t ever think of doing anything wrong and please my son, follow the rules.” One of the soldiers that seemed like their boss said with a nasty laugh “yes my dear Salem follow the rules.” “Sbeecha” my father spoke again ignoring the soldier “stay away from these cruel people. Don’t do anything stupid and stay away from anything dangerous.”  That savage soldier spoke



sarcastically again “anything but stupidity pretty Sbeecha.” I could see both my father and brother faces boiling red from anger. I hated how they couldn’t do anything about it. I hated how they felt locked and incapable. I hated every single thing about this.

Just after my poor father got into their rotten car, I screamed my lungs out and hugged my mom tightly trying to release all the sadness that got into me into her welcoming heart. Now my father is gone, Kuwait is invaded, and the harsh sadness is all over this small, young country of ours. Oh god, what could be worse.

It is Thursday, we were supposed to meet the rest of the family, eat the typical chicken matchboos ( (and the okra soup (( ??? ????? , and chat about the great, historical, industrial, Kuwaiti achievement. What seems to happen is the exact opposite. We are locked in our house and Kuwait is invaded.

Two hours passed by. The gunshots and the bombs are still going. Within every shot my tears elevated and within every bomb, my heart weakened and shattered into tiny pieces. Salem and I were in the living room, while mom was in her room trying to calm down. Salem was going through the radio trying to prove the idea “Kuwait is free” by any means correct but with each try, he seems to fail.  Suddenly out of nowhere he yells “stop it Sbeecha! Seriously you are not helping” I knew it! I knew he was annoyed by my endless tears. But I swear I couldn’t hold it. I couldn’t keep quiet and just conceal my tears. I stayed quiet for a while and then answered back “what do you expect me to do? Go through this stupid radio trying to find hopeless answers or go outside and have myself killed?”  he looked into me for a couple of seconds then said “none Sbeecha, none. Just stay quiet or leave me alone.” With no words spoken, I left the living room as he commanded and decided to go to my room. On my way there I passed my moms room. I could hear her cries in her prayers while reading the holy verses of the Quran. At some points, I felt like knocking the door and talk to her but I knew she’d make everything worse. My relationship with my mom is very weak. There is always tension between the two of us. Things never seem right when it comes to me and my mom. I skipped her room and went directly to my room. I stood in front of the window wondering what reasons could be behind this. Has my precious Kuwait done anything wrong or is it just the way life goes? But why Iraq and why Kuwait? We’ve always been brothers and neighbors. Why could someone be this violent? If it was for revenge, which I doubt, why would it be violent revenge? If it was because of jealousy, then why would you hurt innocent people? And if it was for concurring, then why your neighbor and supposedly your brother? Is it the human kind or it’s a sign of the devils? 

My eyes spotted a girl in her mid-20’s talking or by other means fighting with two soldiers. Yes, I couldn’t hear her, but her body expressions explained mainly everything. I could see the two soldiers arrogantly laughing at her as if she was making jokes but I’m sure she wasn’t.



I laid down on my bed and automatically an idea popped into my head. I want to help Kuwait. I can’t just lay down and see it burn while doing nothing but idiotically crying like a newborn. A thought came after another. I wanted to go out and fight for my country and I knew I would be killed and I would love it if I was killed for Kuwait.  I grabbed a notebook and started listing the things I wanted to do for Kuwait. The list seemed to never end. An Idea grabbed the other. I stopped the list and started writing my feelings. It went from horrified, fearful, sad, and annoyed. I wrote everything. I didn’t want to stop. I felt a lot better. Writing always made me feel good. But what was different this time is I have no one to read them to. My father was always my only listener and now he is gone. That thought made my eyes start pouring tears again which lead to my deep sleep.


I slept for maximumly half an hour. Those bombs destroyed every part of me. Even the slightest peaceful part of me, which is my sleep. I woke up and I felt that heaviness in both my eyes and head. I stayed on my bed looking at the ceiling trying to clear up my mixed and unsure thoughts.  Some minutes later I decided to go downstairs and see how is everything else is going. For some reasons, all the lights were off, and the curtains were shut, and my mom was still in her prayer wear. I went to the sofa that was facing my mom’s and folded my feet under me.  I stayed quiet waiting for her to speak first. Nothing seemed to come out from her, so I spoke. I wish I never did!  “Mom, I can’t stay here!” she looked into me with the deadliest eyes ever. It felt like looking into a body that lost its soul. She answered back “what you’re leaving Kuwait now?”  “No mom!” I said shocked!  “Then what?” she said with a sigh.

“Umm, mom I can’t just stay here and absolutely do nothing. Mom I need to help Kuwait! I can’t just see it disappear like that and....” in a split of a second, she interrupted me.  “Sbeecha you’re not going anywhere outside this door.  Your father just left us to only god knows where. Sbeecha, he just told you hours ago to behave and look at you now! Not even Salem thought about doing such a thing. Oh god, are you planning on killing me?” some seconds later her voice got lower and she started speaking again. “See my darling I get how you feel but first of all you’re a girl and you are very young too. Trust me no one is expecting anything from you. What are you going to fight? Those soldiers? For real are you planning on doing that?! Sbeecha sweetie, you barely reach 50-kilograms. I can see your bones from right here.”  I could not do anything but tear up all over again. Just after she saw my tears she started talking again. “and you’re planning on going out and fight. This is a war! A WAR! It’s not a fight between friends.


If you cried for what I just said then what are you going to do if you see the shattered bodies of the dead all over the floor.”  Her words rang in my ears just like the continued bombs did. Still, I couldn’t keep quiet. In some seconds I managed to organize my thoughts and talk back. “first of all mom, yes I am a thin, young, girl but I do have a mind. A mind that thinks in facts. A mind that for sure can stop a war. Yes, I can’t fight those soldiers but I’m not going to repeat their mistake. I’m not going to repeat the same mistake twice. Mom, again I do have a mind. And about my tears, of course, it’s not because of fear of what you just said. I fear to lose my country mom I fear that I’m going to end up doing nothing mom.  Stop having those narrow thoughts about me. Kuwait needs us all now. She needs the young ones and the old. She needs the women and the men. Just like you said, mom, it is a WAR. If we don’t work all together then we are certainly losing. Mom I believe in Kuwait, I believe in us, the citizens of Kuwait. I believe in winning. This war won’t last long, and they are going to leave. I am sure that we are going back to how we used to be if not better.”  I felt released. I finally said all what is in my crowded mind to the last expected person ever.

“Sbeecha I am really shocked. See sweetie, I don’t want to lose you. I’m sure if you did what you just said you will be killed and I know how much you would love it if that happened for Kuwait. Think about what is going to happen to me. I just lost your father and I feel like killing myself.” She stopped to wipe her tears and then completed. “if I ever lose you then certainly I am killing myself. I would love it if I was fearless just like you are. But no! I am fully fearful.” She hugged me tight and started crying.

Days went by. Those savages are still around. We have no idea about where my father is. My mom is getting weaker every day and I’m still not allowed to go out. I spent my days and nights on my balcony writing and watching the miseries of the people. Day by day I could see my neighbors leaving. At night I saw them locking their doors and getting in old cars and never coming back. The number of people in my neighborhood started to decrease. I felt disappointed. Vey disappointed. But somehow, they had the right to leave. Kuwait is no more safe as it used to be. That rich Kuwait with the best economical industry is no more safe. Its people have barely anything to eat. Including us. They lost their jobs. Including my brother. they lost the access to education. Including myself. They lost access to hospitalization. Including my friend Haya(???), who died 5 days ago because she couldn’t afford the medicine she needed. They lost members of their family. including my lost father.


Sitting on my balcony I could hear the bell ringing I ran downstairs hoping it’s my father, if not then for sure it is the soldiers again. As I reached the last step of the stairs Salem shouted: “no one opens the door it might be the soldiers again.” Mom replied back calmly “No no, it is your uncle Huzam(????  (he wanted to see us and talk to us about something.” I was hoping that he would like to talk about things that we could help


Kuwait with. We all welcomed him and sat in the living room. As he sat down he took a deep breath as if the doctor was testing his breathing system. He looked at my mom twice and the third time he looked at her, my brother spoke. “Uncle, is there anything wrong?” I interrupted him saying “Have you heard any unpleasing things about my father?” Looking at the both of us he said “sadly no, I haven’t heard anything about your father, but trust me I have tried everything. I tried giving them money to talk. They took my money and told me that they would reply by tomorrow it seems like tomorrow is never coming.” “then what are you here for uncle?”  I said. My mom gave me that look saying “behave Sbeecha” my uncle smiled saying “Leave her Bazza. I know you are worried why am I hear. But first of all, promise me that you will listen till I am done with every word of mine afterword you can speak.” He looked at the both us waiting for an answer. I mumbled to myself “oh god please don’t make me lose my mind all over again. I have had enough.” Salem looked at me and whispered, “pray deeper, pray deeper.”

“I heard you-you two and yes, Sbeecha pray deeper next time.” Salem and I looked at each other and laughed at how harshly funny this is. Its been long since we last smiled. It felt like someone had knitted some parts of our lips and cheeks to ban us from smiling. “ok now listen to me. As you all know Kuwait is no more safe and it is getting harmful each day. Staying here is now very risky.”

Am I hearing anything wrong? No way this could be true! is he planning to get us out from Kuwait? Has he lost his mind? If he talks from now till the end of tomorrow I am no way leaving Kuwait. I haven’t said anything till now. I left him to finish first then I would explode like one of those bombs outside.

“If we stay here any longer then there is a huge probability that God forbids one of as or many of us are getting killed. Yesterday I was talking to one of the soldiers about your father and when I as he said, “talked too much” he pointed his gun at my head. Sbeecha I know that you were planning to work on helping Kuwait and I hope your mom had convinced you enough about forgetting the idea and I hope you did.  It’s time to move to the next step which is leaving Kuwait. I know how hard it would be to do that. But trust me it is for the best. We tried our best on working on it, but it looks like it is not our job. We are better outside. Its better for the both of us.”

As he finished his words I ran to my room without saying a single word. I promised myself that I would explode in their faces but I was too tired, my heart was too tired. I don’t want to leave Kuwait. I don’t want to leave Kuwait at this time. Why wouldn’t they understand? Kuwait needs us. Leaving it would never make anything better. It wouldn’t make any of us better. I laid on my front and hugged my pillow tightly. I couldn’t hold it anymore nothing feels right anymore. All I wanted to do is close my eyes and never open it tell Kuwait is free and back to being peaceful as it used to be. I heard a knock on my door, but I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. I wanted to stay all alone. The knock repeated again, and I heard the door open. “Sbeecha can I get in?” Knowing that it was Salem I sat well and welcomed him in. and he sat right beside me in the bed. “calm down Sbeecha, calm down. I know how hard this feels but we need to be patient. Kuwait will get well soon and we will come back again and I promise you we will never leave it.”

I was surprised that even Salem wanted to leave. It was the last thing I expected him to do. I always thought he was on my side. Sadly, he wasn’t.

 “you know Salem, the last thing I expected you to agree on is leaving Kuwait. Why is no one getting me? Kuwait needs us. Leaving it won't make anything better trust me. It would make it way worse. It would give those Iraqis a chance to expand. If that happened there will no more be Kuwait. They will have it all. Don’t you get it! Iraqis want us to leave! They want us to give them Kuwait. And you are helping them achieve their goal. I am sorry I’m not going to do that! I am a pure Kuwaiti citizen. Kuwait did its best to keep me safe and all she wants from me now is to hold on her and give her the strength she needs. If I wasn’t here for Kuwait then who will?” I felt really proud of what I said. For seconds I thought that I got him convinced. “I have something else to say to you Salem. We still haven’t found our father! How could you leave and just keep him lost? If we went then for sure if we came back, we will have no source of connection with him. Listen all I have to say is that in any way possible you’ll never get me out of Kuwait in such circumstances.” Salem gave me that frozen look which made me feel timid and nervous. In some seconds he spoke. “Sbeecha I am sorry to disappoint you but we have no other choice. See I haven’t said this to anyone because I knew if I said it worst things might happen. And please don’t tell this to mom.” The suspense had me strong and I felt worried about what he is going to say. He folded the sleeve if his white dishdasha and exposed the huge fresh, red, scar. As I saw his hands my eyes widened. I looked at his arms then looked at him. “Where is that from? How did you get it? Salem is your hand okay?” I felt horrified. I wanted him to tell me the whole truth. “hey hey hey!! Your voice! Don’t make omi (mother) hear us. I will tell you everything but you have to lower your voice.” I had my hands in my mouth to show him that I won't make any voice. After he saw my moves he spilled the story. “Last night I was out with our cousin Dhari (????) and in our way to the police station to check on any new news about oboi (father) we had a fight with one of the soldiers for some reasons and I was minutes away from getting killed. If Dhari didn’t get me out of it I would’ve been in jail or completely dead now. That didn’t stop here! On our way back home different soldiers stopped us and pointed their guns into our faces for no reason. Sbeecha the other day they threw bombs into Dhari’s car!”

 My heart was jumping and skipping beats, my eyes started watering all over again, my body started shaking like a laundry machine, and my mind was full of lost bees roaming around. To be honest I wasn’t sure why my heart was acting this way. Is it because my only brother was injured, or my country is fully conquered, or is it that my childhood best friend/crush was about to die! After a while, I figured it out. First, my heart was beating because of the thoughts about Dhari, my eyes were watering because of Salem’s arm and my mind was confused because of Kuwait. The shaking of my body was because of the enormous amount of stress that was getting into my young soul. Salem adjusted his hand on my shoulder and said “Sbeecha take your time to think about it and reply back. The only thing you need to know is that we cant and we will not leave you alone.” I went back to my thoughts and remembered our father. “What about our father Salem? Will we leave him alone? Please don’t tell me we will!”

Salem had both of his hands pressing into his eyes saying “about this I literally have no idea! Sbeecha months passed by and we know nothing about him!”

 I took a deep breath to calm my scattered nerves down a bit.

“UUGHHH Salem!!! Stop saying such things. You are annoying me with your stupidness! Just tell me now are you planning on leaving without figuring this out?”

“yes, Sbeecha I am. I have no other choice. I have tried every single thing. Sbeecha I was about to get myself killed for that and you are calling me stupid! What will I get from staying here? I won’t be able to find my father or keep my life safe. Leaving is the better choice.” I stayed quiet and looked away. I had nothing to say. I felt depressed. Life had never been harder. Things feel weird. The things I used to read and hear about countries with wars are happening to us. I never imagined my country facing such things.

After Salem left my room I grabbed my memory box and went through old pictures of ours. I saw pictures from my first birthday, first day of school, my first ever holiday, first school trip, my first visit to the Kuwait tower, my first ever visit to my dad’s office, my kinder garden graduation, my high school graduating, Salem’s high school and college graduation, and last my first ever participation on the Kuwait national day operetta.  Every picture made me tear up. Every picture shaped a new scratch in my heart. I miss my dad, I miss my Kuwait. I miss my life, my normal life.

In days we collected all what’s important and kept all the rest of our belongings. I am leaving my country with one single bag. I left everything. I left my dreams, my hopes, my life in all. I can’t, and I won’t see myself anywhere other than Kuwait.

On September the 10th, I got in the old van in the middle of the night with 10 other people. It was my mom, Salem, Uncle Huzam, his wife Hayat(????), his son Dhari of course, his two daughters Lulwah (?????) and Taiba (????) and the driver Ahmed (????) and a girl named Israr. (?????) Uncle Ahmed was the one driving, uncle Huzam sat next to him. Omi and Aunt Hayat sat next to each other. Dhari and Salem were next to each other too. Beside them were Taiba and Lulwah. And I was left with this complete stranger named Israr. I had no idea where were we going. I didn’t want to know. Where ever it would be it wouldn’t matter to me. If it's not Kuwait, then there is no way I’ll feel safe in it.





In the first two hours, it all felt like that our lives are in complete jeopardy. We are crossing the boarders of Kuwait with no permission. The thought of it made me question things. Are we considered refugees now? I am from one of the richest families in one of the richest countries in the world. How on Earth could I be a refugee? Dear god, is this a scourge? Has Kuwait done anything wrong to get this? Without thinking I looked to my right and asked Israr with no introduction or anything similar. “How did you agree to leave Kuwait?”. She gave me that confused look. Honestly, I didn’t mind it. If a stranger asked me a similar question I think I would’ve reacted even worst. After the confused face, she smiled and said “who said I am leaving sweetheart?  I am going to get some weapons and send some private documents to Saudi and come back to Kuwait.” Just after I heard what she said and my mouth immediately dropped. I couldn’t believe whatever she is saying.  A 30-year-old lady going to Saudi Arabia with complete strangers to gather WEAPONS and send private documents out of Kuwait.  She looked happy or in other words, she felt proud of the things she is doing.

“do you need any type of help? Please tell me you need me. Please tell my mom that I can do well in helping Kuwait. Please don’t make them take me out! All I really want is to help Kuwait and no one is supporting me.” I tried to lower my voice as much as possible, so no one could hear me except for Israr of course. Despite that, I still felt that someone was looking. I looked around and saw Dhari staring deeply. I have no idea why but just after I realized that he was looking my body turned hot. I could feel my face turning red and I started biting my nails and automatically looked away. Isar felt the tension that was created so to get back things to normal she replied to me. “UUMMMM, Sbeecha?” “YES!” I immediately replied. “Can I ask you a question? And if you don’t feel like answering then it is totally fine.”

Its been long since someone tried to ask me about something. All I have been getting in the past months are continuous orders. Now that she wanted to ask me about something I felt important.

“why do they want you to leave?”

“Well, they say that I am too young to fight and its just too harmful!”

“And do you believe in that Sbeecha?”

“of course not! Yes, I could be young but I do have a mind. And I am never going to harm myself or anyone while helping Kuwait because I believe that God can save me and I promised myself if that I worked on freeing Kuwait I am not going to use violence because violence was never and will never be the right choice. The only thing that violence ever created is complete destruction.”

Her face gave me the one thing I always needed. She gave me the simplest, prettiest smile. I felt important, I felt wanted. It felt that the thing I lost just came back. She reminded me of my father. I loved Israr for many reasons.


Well first, she made me have the seat that is next to the window which is super sweet of her, and she made me feel good about my opinion. Even though she still didn’t say a simple word yet. I still felt it. I smiled back to show her that I am waiting for an answer and when she noticed it she answered back. “Sbeecha, you are simply impressive. A young girl who from what I heard just graduated from high school and have such a mentality as yours is simply impressive. I saw the passion in your eyes and I loved it. And I think that you can help me.”

The minute he said that my eyes expanded. It felt like they might fall away in any second. “Tell me all about it now!”

She laughed to how I exited I seemed and then said, “I know how its nothing compared to what you really want to do but if you really want to help Kuwait and not use violence in the same time then this is the only thing I could help you with.”

“trust me Israr I would take anything.”

“Then listen closely! As you know we are on our way to Saudi and when we reach there you will be seeing a lot of Kuwaitis in any chance you could see one your family members there. Your job will be informing everyone there about what is really happening in Kuwait. When you do that people will have an Idea of what is really going back there. Something else I need you to help me with. In Saudi, you will meet Kuwaiti families who lost a member of their family. You will collect those names and send them to me. I will give you a number so you could give me all the info.  I will try my best to find them and then I will call you to inform those families. Don’t worry the Iraqis will not know about us. Now tell me are you up for it?”

I felt extremely elated! For a second I felt thankful that I decided to leave Kuwait because if I didn’t there is a huge probability that I would still be locked on my balcony. But now I am here on my way to help my precious Kuwait. 

“I am going to do every part of it from the bottom of my heart! Israr thank you very much without you I don’t know what might have happened to me! Israr can I ask you for one more favor?”

“Oh, sure thing!”

“My father is one of the people who has been taken by the Iraqi army and no is lost. Can you please try to find anything about him? Even though Uncle Huzam and Salem tried their best in searching for him and begging the Iraqi soldiers to give them any information about him. We have no idea if he is still alive or god forbids dead.”

The fact that my mind thought about the image of the death of my father led to my non-stopping tears! It made me panic! I hope I never see the image in the real life or even in my thoughts ever again.


“Sbeecha don’t say that! Don’t worry I will try my best in finding your father. I promise you I will find him and I promise you that you will see him in Kuwait and I promise you that you will be able to complete the rest of your life with him.”

she hugged me and gave me some tissues to wipe my tears. As I did that, I looked through the rest of the bus and they were all sleeping except for mom, uncle Ahmed and uncle Huzam. I wasn’t sure if Dhari and Salem were sleeping or not.

“Sbeecha I would just like to ask you for more information about him. things like his name, his career, a picture if you have, his age, things like that.”

“It would be better if you asked mom about, she will give you more accurate answers. She is still awake you could go and ask her now if you want.”

“Don’t you think it’s not the right time?”

“of course not. It’s completely fine. It's not like she is busy in anything.”

“good then.” She gave me a smile and then went.

I had my head in the window and started observing the dark skies, the deserted desert, the sound of the sheikh reciting the holy verses of the Quran through the radio. As I was listening, the sheikh recited one of the most verses I ever loved. ((??????????? ????? ??????? ???? ?????????????)). (???????-46) ((Indeed, Allah is with the patient.)) (Anfal-46)

It was one of those verses where its words passed by my ears and then landed in my heart for ever and ever.  I promised myself that I will be patient. I will be patient for my father and for my Kuwait. I know this won’t take long. I will reach Saudi soon and I will help my Kuwait.

  I closed my eyes and a memory of the day before the invasion crossed my mind. It was Wednesday.  The whole family was in our house. All my cousins, aunts, and uncles. It was the day before my youngest cousin’s birthday. He had been talking about it from the begging of the month. All he wanted was a simple, red bicycle for his 8th birthday. My cousins and I were planning to get him one the next day as a gift from us to him. Sadly, that young boy was gifted a bomb from the bestial Saddam Hussein (???? ????).

Hours passed by and I slept for the whole trip. Until I felt someone waking me up by calling my name and shaking my shoulder. It was Taiba. I stretched my body and yawned loudly. It was one of the worst sleep I have ever had. My body was totally broken. I opened my eyes and saw Taiba in front of me. “Sbeecha wake up wake up!”  As I woke up I saw 5 soldiers around the van. 2 of them were with uncle Ahmed asking him things I couldn’t ear. My body started to shake, and my face turned dull I was too scared. Everyone was too scared.  Israr was calming me down. My mom and aunt Hayat were praying god. Uncle Huzam looked at us and said, “Your IDs hurry up!”


Everyone opened their wallets and got them out. Mine was with my mom and Israr gave me hers to give to my uncle. As I looked at it, it had the name “Sarah” (????) instead of Israr. I turned back and looked at her and she nodded her head and told me to go. I gave it to my uncle and went back to my seat. I looked at Israr and she whispered, “I will tell you when they leave.”

“How do you know that they will leave?” I whispered back.

“I have been doing this for a long time now. Sbeecha doesn’t worry!”  I gave her the shocked look and then looked straight. Minutes later I saw the soldier giving our IDs back to uncle Ahmed and said, “Goodbye my brother.” "???????? ???."

I felt weird an Iraqi soldier wishing us goodbyes by leaving Kuwait? I felt confused until Uncle Ahmed spoke. “He is such a sweet guy. May God give him the full strength.”

“Ameen.” Said Uncle Huzam.

“What did he do?” Said Lulwah

“As I gave him our IDs he had a quick look into them without even reading any of the names and said, “May God keeps you all safe through the road and keep your loved ones back in Kuwait safe from the rest us. I am really sorry for all what you are facing but trust me, my brother, we are doing this against our well. If it was in my hands I would’ve helped every single one of you”

 "??? ?????? ??? ?????? ? ???? ??????? ??? ??????? ??? ? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ???????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???"

“Why aren’t they all like him.” Said Salem

???????? ??? ?? ???" Said aunt Hayat.

  "????????." said Salem.

I looked back to Israr so she could to me about her ID.

“Hey now is your name Israr or Sarah?”


“what do you mean?” I said laughing.

“well my real name is Israr but when it comes to the Iraqis it is Sarah.”

“And why is that?”

“because they have been searching for me for a long time now. They know that there is a girl called Israr have been sending information outside of Kuwait. If they found me then they are going to kill me.”



“Sbeecha I stopped the blockade that they created in the international calling and I called the CNN in America and told them about everything that is going back in Kuwait. I bombed their cars and one of their headquarters. You know once I dressed up as a dustman and went to one of the governments under guard by the Iraqi army and got important documents that were held by the Iraqis and left like I never came. And now I am here collecting weapons and going back.”

I felt impressed by every word she said. I never saw a person as strong and as loyal as her. I am completely sure that I will never see again. She dedicated her life to Kuwait and still dedicating it with not a single feeling of fear holding her away.

“When I turn your age, I want to be loyal and brave just like you are.”

“You don’t have to reach 30 to be loyal and brave. You could be 5 and still be loyal and brave. It has nothing to do with the age. It comes from the heart Sbeacha. It's not like you are not loyal or brave. You are loyal. The insist you had to help Kuwait showed how loyal you are. The fast expectance you had when I told you the idea shows that you are brave. See you are 18 and still brave and loyal. It's just the circumstances that differ here.”

In every word, she says she inspires me even more.

“You know Israr, if every Kuwaiti was just as great as you are, then Iraqis would have never thought of invading us.”

“How sweet of you. By the way, I forgot to tell you. I talked to your mom about it. She helped a lot and don’t worry it won't be too hard to find your fathers name I actually found his name in one of the documents I have with me here and it says that he is still in Kuwait and they are not planning on taking him to Iraq until now. To tell you the whole truth they might take him in the future but not soon. I hope I find him before they take him to Iraq.”

I gave her a hug and thanked her for every single thing she did and said to me. 

“something else Sbeecha.”

“yes,” I, said with full of joy.

 “when I went to talk to your mom I saw her knitting the Kuwaiti flag. When I saw it I told her about the idea I told you about helping Kuwait. And guess what?” She said smiling.

“What?” I said laughing out of happiness.

“She is willing to help you!”



“Noo waayy! WOW! Honestly didn’t expect it coming. I thought she would say something like, “oh no we will be going to a new country, we don’t know anything there, oh sweetie its too risky. It is better if she stays home and does nothing.” Saying it while imitating my mom's voice.

“Oh no no she didn’t say that. Even if she said, she’s your mom and she knows what is better for you.”

“of couuuuurse!”

“Stop it Sbeecha!”

As she said that I zipped my lips and smiled.

“Before you zip it, tell me what is it between you and the guy named Dhari?”

“What doo yoou mean? There is nothing between us!”

“You sure?”

“Well yeah, I think.” I said laughing.

“Well, I don’t think so.”

“He was my childhood best friend. That is it.”

“Oh good I just wanted to tell you that he was looking at you the whole time.”

“Whattt?? Nooo!!”

“Why would I lie?”

“I don’t know.” I said laughing.

Everyone stayed quiet for a bit until Dhari started singing:

???? ?????? ???? ??????...

? ??? ????? ???? ??????...

As everyone realized what he was trying to sing, we all joined:

???? ??????...

???? ??????...

???? ?????? ???? ??????...

?? ??? ???? ?????? ?????...

????? ???????? ?????? ?????????...

???? ???? ???? ???...


???? ????? ??? ?????...


????? ?? ???? ?????? ???...


???? ???? ??? ????? ????...


????? ?? ?? ???? ???...


??? ?????? ????? ??????...


????? ?? ???? ???????...


??? ????? ????? ??????...


??????? ???? ??????...


?? ?????? ???? ?????...



Kuwait, my country, may you be safe and glorious!


May you always enjoy good fortune!


You are the cradle of my ancestors,


Who put down its memory.


With everlasting symmetry, showing all eternity,


Those Arabs were heavenly,


Kuwait, my country,


May you be safe and glorious!


May you always enjoy good fortune.

Blessed be my Country a homeland for harmony,


Warded by true sentry giving their soils aptly,


Building high its history, Kuwait,


My country, we're for you my Country,


Led by faith and loyalty,


With its Amir equally,


Fencing us all fairly, with warm love and verity,


Kuwait, my country,


May you be safe and glorious.


May you always enjoy good fortune!




As we sang the last lines of the Kuwaiti national anthem the bright light of the new city Alkhafji, Saudi Arabia (????? ??????? ??????? ??????? ????????) brightened us. We finally reached our new land. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I could see the two great flags right next to each other. The Kuwaiti flag right next to the Saudi. It showed me how true neighbors and true brothers exist. I felt safe. Everyone there was super corresponding.

  As we reached the Saudi Customs the man welcomed us with the biggest smile and asked for our IDs. This time Israr gave him her original ID. 

“Welcome to your second country” "????? ???? ?? ?????? ?????? ? ???????? ??? ???????."  Said one of the sweetest soldiers. They led us the Kuwaiti embassy where we can discuss everything. as I was waiting for uncle Huzam, I saw Israr talking to one of the Saudi soldiers and discussing some papers. After they were done with the papers he took her to a room and came back after a while. This time she came with a bigger bag. By its size, I knew it was the bag of weapons. She came to us and gave me a paper that has her name, a home number, and a house address.  She said her goodbyes and left. Uncle Huzam came out with more papers in his hands. “Sbeecha darling come here.” I went to him and he handed me the papers. “those are papers Israr left for you. she said it could help you out with the thing you are working on.

“Thank you.” I said as a took the papers.

On our way to the hotel, I had to sit next to Salem and Dhari for the whole road.

I didn’t feel comfortable the whole time. I felt someone was looking and I was right. Dhari was actually looking. I looked at him and gave him that friendly smile.

“What are those papers for Sbeecha?” said Salem.

“Its information about the jailbirds back in Kuwait.”

  “What are you going to do with it?” asked Salem again.

“I am going to their families and gather more information about the prisoners and send it to Israr. Don’t worry I have their addresses here and their home numbers and everything is prepared. Something else, mom is going to help me with it. So, you have nothing to worry about.”

“Okay, Okay calm down, calm down.” Salem said laughing.

“If mom is going with you then I have nothing to worry about.”

“Hey Sbeecha, is it fine if I join?” Said Dhari.

“Yeah, sure! You could drive us around or anything.” I said with a smile again.

“That would be great for me too.” Said Dhari smiling back.



Days went by. Dhari, mom, and I have been gathering information and sending it to Israr. Israr calls back with better news. The cycle went on and on for a whole month. In every day I feel that I have progressed something new. Seeing the faces of the happy families when I give them the news about their father, their son or daughter was the


best feeling ever. They made me feel as if I gave them the key to mortality. Some other times I would feel like throwing myself from the top of the building. The worst part was when I had to tell them that the army has killed their beloved ones.  In most of the time, I couldn’t do it. I would let Dhari do it instead. In times I get the feeling that is my mistake. I was the one who didn’t arrange my schedule and sent the information earlier, but every time I think that way Dhari or mom would tell me "??? ??????."  “It is their death date.” If not that then its "  At the same time, we loved what all did. Aunt Hayat and Uncle Huzam decided to go to a city called Alhassa(???????)  and do the same thing there. Taiba and Lulwah went with them too. Dhari, Salem, mom and I stayed here in Alkhafji. I loved Saudi. I didn’t make me feel like someone less. They gave us shelter, even if it was their own house. They gave us money, even if they needed it. They gave us food, even if the one they had didn’t feed them enough. They treated us like brothers and sisters. Whenever a Saudi notice us as Kuwaiti he/she would say "?????? ? ???????? ????" “Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is one.” Or things like “Kuwait is free” ?????? ??? ????"I never thought I would feel safe and love a country as much as I felt safe and loved Kuwait. Saudi will always be in my heart no matter what.  It also made know Dhari even more which is something else.


November the 1st we got a call from Israr.

“Hello, Sbeecha, can you hear me its Israr.”

“Yes yes, I can hear you, how are you?”

“I am great how about you and the rest of your family?”

“We are all doing good Alhamdulillah.”

“Sbeecha listen carefully I have great news for you. your father would be released soon and you all can see him again.”

As Israr said that I kneeled to god and started thanking him right away. My mom knew it was my father, so she picked the telephone and started talking to Israr.

“Israr darling are you sure of what you are saying?”

“Yes Aunt Baza Yes, I am 100 percent sure. I made friends with one of the Iraqi soldiers and he promised me that they will release him in a week from now. The same soldier is friends with your husband Aunt Baza. Aunt Baza I have to hang up the phone right now. Collect your belongings and come back to meet your husband. See you in Kuwait.”

Those were the last words we have heard from the martyr Israr AlQabandi. (????? ??????) In the 4th of November, she was taken away by the army and prisoned for 72 days until tortured to death and thrown in the front door of her parent's house.

In November the 6th we arrived at Kuwait. This time we went early in the morning, so we would reach the borders of Kuwait in the afternoon where the son would be boiling hot and the soldiers would be too tired to stand in the son. We went to our house and saw it as bad as we left it. Dark, full of dust, broken glass and fallen trees all over it. My mom opened the front door and the surprise was that doesn’t need the key to open. When we got in we saw the disasters view. That chandelier that was hanging on through the ceiling until through the house. Most if not all of the luxurious vases and frames were taken. My mom remembered the locked room where she kept all her expensive belongings in. It was located under the stairs. I don’t think they would notice it. When she went there she saw it still locked and not even close to being touched. She opened the door a saw everything as neat as it used to be. My mom got us there and locked the door in us so no one could find us. We slept for hours and hours. I personally woke up 5 in the morning where even the soldiers were still asleep. Mom and Salem, and Dhari woke up half an hour later. By nine we went to Sulaibikhat prison (??? ??????????) where we thought that our father was locked there. When we arrived, a soldier stopped us.

“where are you planning to go?”

Salem was the one speaking the whole time.

“our father is jailed inside and they told us he will be out today. We are here to take him”

The soldier laughed loudly and then said “go back home, go back home we will kick him out whenever we want. What is his name maybe we killed him with the group we killed yesterday?”

I wanted to rip his tongue out and cut it into tiny pieces.

“his name is Yaqoob Jaseem.” Said omi.

He went through the names in the paper he had.


“Yaqoob, Yaqoob, huh Yaqoob Jassem…. Hmm, sadly he is still alive ???.” (grandmother)

This time I wanted to rip every part of his body and cut it into smaller pieces. He talked like he was going a restaurant’s menu and listing what they still have and what they don’t. 

“thank you.” mom said.

???”. (grandmother)

Hours passed by. We didn’t hear anything from my dad. My mom went to my grandfather’s house and met her mother and told her everything that happened to us back in Saudi. She came back hoping she would see her husband. When she arrived, she saw everything just like when she left. Dhari and Salem were listening to the radio and cursing the brutal soldiers. I went to my room and so bed completely broken, most of my cabinets lost, and the door of my balcony was about to fall out. I opened the door and sat on the balcony and started thinking again. I started imagining our liberation day. Oh, how happy Kuwait would feel. Even with the destruction that was caused by the barbaric army, it will still shine. It was 6: pm was I saw the loud gigantic cars of the army. I ran as fast as possible shouting “they are here, they are here!” we all went outside and saw the doors of the car open and release the man that I thought I lost forever. Seeing him made my eyes cry. The broken heart of mine was just going back to normal. His precious face was full of blood. His clothes were torn into pieces, the scars were taking over his body, his nails were off his fingers, his hair was very tall, but still looked disastrous. As he saw us his eyes started to water. It was one of the only times I saw my father crying. He smiled as he saw my face. His front cutter tooth as off too. But his smile was still pretty. The soldier kicked my father by his foot until he fell in the floor. When Salem and Dhari saw that they ran to the soldier to hit him until my mom stopped them. My mom was crying hard. She decided to go and help him stand up again but this time the soldier stopped her.

“Get away from him or we will empty the shots of this gun in both of your heads.”

My mom stepped back and raised her hands in the air. I looked at Salem as he side hugged me tightly while his eyes were full of tears. As my father took his first steps in standing the merciless soldier raised his gun and fired at my father’s back.  As I saw my father fall back on the floor I screamed as loud as possible. I ran to my father and hugged him tightly. I looked back to my mom and saw her standing in her place not believing what she just saw. Salem and Dhari ran to fight the soldiers but the men of the neighborhood tried to stop them. I kissed my fathers head and lie down next. I didn’t believe my sight. It can’t be true. My father is not dead. I started screaming “my father is not dead. He is still alive!” I tried talking to him, but I didn’t get an answer. I shook his body and I still didn’t get an answer.


All the soldiers left except one. He went to Salem and gave him a paper and said “may God reward you. I stayed with your father for the whole time. He was a great man. They wanted him to talk but he didn’t say a word. He kept quiet for the whole time. When he knew they will release him he gave me this letter and told me to give it to you because he knew he would die before he could see you.”

??? ???? ???? ???. ??? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?????. ???? ???? ???? ???. ?? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ????. ??? ???? ??? ?????. ???? ???? ??? ??? ????? ??? ??????? ?? ?? ??? ?????. ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ??? ???????. ? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ????? ??? ?? ???????." 

My brother thanked the soldier and took the letter. When he opened it he saw a letter to each one of us. He began with my mom.



Dear Baza,

Its been long since I have last seen you and I miss you a lot. I miss coming back home from work and seeing you all dressed up and looking all pretty and ready. I miss our silly fights even our serious ones. I wish we never fought though.  I wish I spent more time with you. I wish I never traveled for work and left you alone with our two young kids. but I always knew you could it. I wish I celebrated each and every single anniversary of ours. I know you always say that you hate celebrating those stupid, meaningless occasions but I swear I know how much you would love it if I ever did. 


From when I was away getting tortured by those heartless people, the pain had me strong. Whenever I wanted to feel better I would think of you. The thought of you would always numb my pain.  I know I barely say it, but Baza, I love you and I love you a lot. I remember the first day I ever saw you, whenever I go back and think about it for some reasons my heart feels like falling from the top of Mount Everest, but it just never breaks. Because the love I had for you protected it from braking. Somedays I couldn’t sleep. My eyes couldn’t close. Not knowing where you were or are you safe or not. I would stay days not sleeping thinking about you. I couldn’t eat anything for months. I couldn’t eat and just not know if you are eating or hungry.  I just missed you In every breath I took.

Lots of Love,

Your husband.




Dear Salem,

Oh god how much I missed you. I missed our chats about AL Kuwait soccer club or our chats about work, even when I knew that most of what you say is complete lies or exaggeration I still love it. I still regret traveling in your kinder garden graduation and not attending. But I am here thanking you for making me the proudest father ever. I am sure

that you did everything to get me out of here and even if you couldn’t I am thankful for that. To tell you the truth I am thankful that they jailed me. It gave me the chance to realize the gifts God have given me. Believe or not you are one the biggest gifts. Salem, I hope you do well in life. I hope you reach a time where you see your dreams in front of your eyes and I hope you have kids and see them grow up and


hopefully succeed. (Don’t worry I don’t want you to name any one of them by my name.) I even hope you get the chance to see your grand, grand, children. I hope you build the house of your dreams and get the car you always wanted. I promise I still remember its name, but I forgot how to spell it. All I know is that it starts with the letter “M” but only god and you know the rest.  I have one more thing to tell you. Take care of yourself, your mother, and your only sister. They depend on you now more than ever. Don’t make them look down on you ever.

Lots of Love,

Your father.

Dear Sbeecha,

The girl I always dreamed to have. My one only daughter. The girl I couldn’t stop talking about to my “jail friends”, the productive writer, the intelligent student, the creative thinker, the obeying daughter, the careful listener, the brave and loyal citizen, the fearless adventurer, and the generous giver. Sbeecha Yaqoob Jassem.

Whenever I talk about you to anyone I miss you even more. In a young family of ours, you make me feel the happiest. Your creativity does not only make me feel proud but also satisfied. I am sure that at any time in the future you will be a great figure. You will be able to show the world who you really are. Either by your writings, your character, or anything similar.  Before leaving our house, I took a picture of our family with us. In every day I would look at it and either thank my god for you or cry to how much I miss you. Once I was really tired. That day they didn’t give us bread or water. So, I started remembering our memories. I am not sure if you remember this but there was one time where we traveled by the ship from Italy to France. You and Salem were too afraid to open your eyes to see the water from the balcony of our room. You stayed indoors for the whole trip. I also remember that one time you threw up in the ocean and while throwing up you realized how pretty the water looked. From that day your love to the ocean had begun. In those memories, I felt you close to me. I felt happy even if you weren’t even close to being next to me. I hope I see you before I die, and I hope I see you happy before I die.

Lots of Love,

Your father.


Submitted: December 26, 2017

© Copyright 2021 Mizna Almousa. All rights reserved.

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