Tuesday, August 02, 2011

August 2, 1990

August 2, 1990 is a date that I’ll never forget. I can’t believe that it has been 21 years since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. While I don’t remember every thing that happened on that day, I do remember the feeling … the feeling of hearing the news – I was in Bangladesh but my parents and brother were in Kuwait. I remember trying to process what it meant. I remember hearing my mother’s voice on the phone … and I remember the sinking feeling that intensified through the day, particularly after all international phone lines were cut and we heard that the airport runways had been bombed … Would I ever see my parents or my brother again?

August 2, 1990 marked the start of a new type of life for me. I was in a new country – well, my native country, but still a new country for me. I didn’t have any friends – only my family members. I started a new school. I saw a whole new side of Bangladesh … and though I slowly started making friends who provided me with a world of support and acceptance (Nadia, Triplets, Mimel) it was still shadowed by the fact that my parents and brother were still not with me. Would I ever see them again? Fortunately for me, there is a happy ending as we were all reunited. However, I know that many were not as lucky as we were.

August 2, 1990 was a date that created a bond among those who went through dealing with the separation from our home (Kuwaiti or not Kuwaiti – Kuwait was our home) and dealing with the uncertainty of the future. I remember when one of my friends (Shimul) from Kuwait finally managed to escape and make it to Bangladesh, I was overwhelmed with relief that she was safe … and felt a different type of comfort being around her as she knew what had been left behind. She understood what the invasion signified. I don’t think it’s an emotion that can be described to somebody who did not go through the events of those seven months.

August 2, 1990 is now used as a marker in time – a gap between how things were ‘pre-invasion’ to how things changed ‘post-invasion.’ To many, it’s just another date. To me, it’s the date that set a whole new set of events in motion in my life. Yes, August 2, 1990 is a date that I’ll never forget.