Suddenly, he said something that I will never forget until my dying day.
“Look what you did to your daughter? You’re making her cry.”
I looked at him, perplexed. “NO!” I wanted to shout. “It’s YOU that’s making me cry! You’re going to kill Baba for something that YOU did!” But instead, I wept silently waiting to say goodbye to my father forever.
Then he said with a smirk on his face, “You know, I’m going to do you a favor and release you today, only because you’ve made your daughter so sad. But if we ever hear of any reports of theft in this city, we will automatically assume you’re the culprit, and take you in and hang you in front of everyone as an example!”
My father looked at him, and quietly said, “Thank you. I appreciate your kindness.”
“Just go to your family, and don’t make us come here again.” The officer admonished my father smugly.
Then, to my great surprise, I heard my father say, “Would you like to come in for some tea?” I guess Arab hospitality knows no bounds. Thankfully, the officer declined the invitation, and they all left.
Almost immediately, my father was on the phone with the American embassy, arranging for a one-way ticket out of Kuwait.
We were forced to flee for our lives. To leave our home, jobs, loved ones. We were not allowed more than two suitcases. How do you fit your entire life into two suitcases? But when your livelihood depends on it, you do what you must to survive.
Through it all, my family remains thankful. We came to a land of great opportunities. With Allah’s guidance, we thrived here alhamdulillah. Who knows where we would be if we had stayed in Kuwait. Would I be as devoted to my deen as I am here in the United States? Would my siblings and I have become teachers, doctors, account executives, authors? Sure, our journey came with unquestionable hardships, but such is life. It is comprised of trials, and we get through them, and move forward.
I bare no ill will against anyone in this story. Iraq is not the culprit, and as we discover the history and roles of different parties involved in the Gulf War, we come to understand that things are not always as they seem. Everyone’s deeds are with Allah, and He is the Most Just.
Everyone’s story has a beginning and an end. War was my beginning, and everyday, I am working on a happy ending, alhamdulillah.