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Viewpoint: The terrors of War
February 23, 2015, 2:28 pm
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Distinguished Kuwaiti Tareq Al Sane went to primary and secondary schooling in Lebanon (Manor House), and graduated with a Management degree from a University in Brighton, UK. He is a proud father of five children. 

Please describe your life before the Gulf war?

Life in Kuwait before the Gulf war was secure and simple. People were more communal and stronger ties between citizens were more prevalent. Any spare time was dedicated to the family, having less entertainment options and activities - there was no need in spending time elsewhere. Work chores were simpler to deal with and people were more diligent with their jobs - with Kuwaitis working in every field and sector. Roads were more structured and organized and much easier to drive on.

We had a privileged life, not in the materialistic sense, but rather in education and knowledge base. We were international entrepreneurs equipped with a deep national pride for our country.

Could you please summarize your experiences in Kuwait during the invasion?

It all started with the first day of the invasion.

I volunteered with the Kaifan Help Aid Community Society and took charge in maintaining the food supply and availability in each supermarket within Kaifan - spending my time from morning till night time to safeguard the supplies and ensure all neighborhood families are receiving their share of materials. This help aid society was composed of members of the opposition against the Iraqi troops. There were many times when we had to negotiate and fight with the troops to make sure they didn’t deplete the supplies and from preventing harm to citizens getting their rightful share.  I was a member of this group up until September 21st 1990.

On that day, I was taken hostage at first at Faisal Al Sane’s house (also taken hostages with his son and cousins), then they took some of us to an abandoned place behind Bibi Complex leaving us stranded for 3 days in the sun, tied up, until armed buses took us to Basra intelligence agency headquarters in Iraq. They took us to underground tunnels where there was no sunlight and the heat was unbearable to the point you can’t breathe. It was a torture tactic - with the doors opening once every day to let an air draft in; sweat was dripping profusely and we almost suffocate every day. It feels like being in a treasure box, with the lack of oxygen slowly deteriorating our skin and bodily functions.

I was freed from prison almost four months later, by end of December.

How did the Gulf war influence your view of life? 

There were many losses and hardships but thankfully we got through it. We understand the pain that all prisoners of war have undergone and still do worldwide.

Describe the transition of Kuwait since the Gulf war till present?

The Kuwaiti culture has changed significantly since those days onwards.

Do you think the younger generations appreciate the triumph of the country over the invasion? Kindly explain your opinion.

I believe it is getting worse with time since younger generations are not being taught about the Gulf War in any context (schools, texts etc.). They were listed before but have been removed from recent teachings - it is part of our history and it reflects great stories about our country and the brave people who have defended it.

On the National and Liberation day, what is the one historical memory should Kuwaitis never forget?

The day the news announced that the Iraqi troops withdrew from Kuwait - a moment that is unforgettable. 

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