In our last class we watched the testimony of Nayirah al-Ṣabaḥ, a Kuwaiti girl, talking about the horrors she allegedly saw the Iraqi soldiers do in Kuwait. According to the movie we saw about it, this was set up in order to push the American government into war with Iraq, which has subsequently come to be known as the Gulf War.
This war, that drew hundreds of thousands of American soldiers to the other side of the world, Iraq, had a wider spread than even that. Across the desert is a little country called Israel. Saddam Hussein, then the leader of Iraq, threatened to shoot mustard gas bombs at it. For this reason all the Israeli families were handed out kits with a gas mask and an Atropine (antidote) shot inside. Throughout the war the families were many times instructed to enter their bomb shelters; if they had one or converted a room in the house into one. This would happen every time Saddam sent a rocket at Israel, which happened 39 times during the course of the war. All the rockets turned out to be Scud missiles, which are not chemical. If kids or babies were too small to wear a gas mask they were put into small incubator type plastic boxes, which protected against the chemical gases. The mother could only touch her child through thick rubber gloves already attached inside the box. I, apparently, didn’t like that too much. The toys and books my mom threw in there with me didn’t seem to make the cut to replace the scent of a woman. So I did what I knew best; I cried. A lot. And I wouldn’t stop.
Now, my mother, three months pregnant with my sister, had to deal with me, a one-year-old baby, while my father had to deal with two Jewish grandparents; the crying became a problem.
So my mother made an executive decision and decided to put Bailey’s Irish Cream in the bottle with my milk. She would feed it to me as she says to my father: “So he won’t go to Harvard.” And she was right. While my mom was doing puppet shows to a drunk baby, my dad was having a hard time breathing through his gas mask. This indicator sent my dad to the doctor who discovered that he had lymphoma. My dad is well and healthy today, thank god. So I am tempted to say that Saddam Hussein saved my dad’s life.
A few years later my friend asked his mom what that holiday is where the kids get to play in plastic boxes for a few days. I guess, inside that box, it’s not too bad. Especially with some booz.