Kuwait drama on war unity contrasts current feuds

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“It’s important that they learn what happened and that they learn about the values of solidarity that helped the country get back on its feet after the invasion,” she said.

What took place during the invasion, including stories of torture, rape and summary killings, are clouded by rumors and conjecture. Very little has officially been documented aside from numbers of executions and stories of martyrs, which are retold as part of an oral tradition where fact and embellishment are often blurred.

But al-Aliwa also took pains to avoid stoking tensions between Kuwait and Iraq. The dialogue refers to Saddam, and the occupying troops are simply referred to as “they” without mentioning the word Iraqis.

A Kuwaiti man in his late 40s, who would give his name only as Abu Yousef, says he vividly remembers the killings.

“A young man from our neighborhood _ younger than I _ was lying on the floor in front of his house in a pool of his own blood. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said the man. “I stopped the car and got out, and to this day I remember this scene very well. I remember how his grief-stricken mother sobbed loudly and I remember how she sat next to his body as if waiting for him to wake up.”

He tempers his war stories with praise for the solidarity that comes from crisis.

“It was as if all differences have melted away,” he said. “People helped each other out in every way they could. We operated the bakeries, cleaned the streets, helped those who needed money, and issues like sect and background didn’t come between us. We all learned the value of our solidarity.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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