Kuwaiti martyred women and children: A story of sacrifice in homeland’s defense
Many stories of courage and sacrifice highlight the fight for Kuwait’s liberation from the brutal August 2, 1990 Iraqi occupation, where martyrdom was a shared duty amongst men and women in the resistance movement.
Asrar Al-Gabandi, Wafaa Al-Amer, and Suad Hasan are a few of the women known for their heroic and active stances in defiance of occupation, who dedicated their lives to the freedom of their home from brutal oppressors. Official figures provided by the Martyr’s Office show that 89 women in total sacrificed their lives amid the terrible six-month ordeal, including 67 Kuwaitis, eight bedoons (stateless), two Bahrainis and one national from each of Egypt, Jordan and India. According to Fatima Al-Ameer, Amiri Diwan secretary and the office’s directorgeneral, Sanaa Al-Fodari was shot dead by Iraqi soldiers just six days after Baghdad launched an offensive to capture its tiny neighbor to the south. Fodari is regarded as the first woman to have lost her life in the occupation after taking to the streets to protest her country’s right of independence under the leadership of the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. “She (Fodari) was speaking on behalf of all Kuwaitis, generally speaking, and women, in particular, as she shouted ‘Kuwait is for the Kuwaitis, our Amir is Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’,” Ameer said.
Kuwaiti women were mostly involved in the ad hoc administration of several utilities like hospitals and grocery stores, earlier in the conflict, and later, helped in efforts to distribute food and money to struggling Kuwaiti families. These included Asrar Al-Gabandi, Wafaa Al-Amer and Suad Hasan, said Ameer. The office listed another 77 women as martyrs, who died as a result of inadequate healthcare, explained Al-Ameer.
The mother of Suad Hasan said that she, along with her daughter, a devout Muslim, were arrested by Iraqi soldiers in January of 1991. The Iraqi soldiers released the mother but kept Suad behind bars in light of her role in the distribution of food to families. Suad spent a month being transferred across several prisons before she was found dead on the ground in a square in the Kuwait City suburb of Kaifan after receiving the penalty of execution.
Twenty seven years after the invasion, Kuwaitis still remember the 41 young and innocent souls of children who were killed by the hands of Iraqi soldiers. The children, considered as martyrs, were the purest example of how Kuwaitis sacrificed everything to maintain their identity against the Iraqi aggression. Speaking on the issue, Ameer said that the children were brutally murdered by invading Iraqi troops who did not recognize the sanctity of the human beings. Amongst those martyred were Mansour Al-Ibrahim, Abdullah Al-Fuzai, Sulaiman Al-Luhaib, Mansour Al-Mansour, and others who were teenagers at the time of their martyrdom, said Ameer who indicated that some of them were executed simply because they were chanting in favor of the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the lawful Kuwaiti government.
Children paid the price of their loyalty to Kuwait such as in the case of Luhaib who protected a resistance cell by claiming the ownership of arms and thus was executed, said Al-Ameer who indicated that the Iraqi troops did not discriminate between infants or teenagers when they committed their crimes.
Remembering the sacrifice made by his brother Abdullah Al-Fuzai, Hamad Al-Fuzai said that Abdullah was killed on January 15, 1991 after being recruited by a resistance group. Abdullah was 14 when he was killed, said his brother, noting that his sibling was tasked with helping people in Farwaniya area and also worked at the cooperative society in the area.
The bodies of Abdullah and his childhood friend Mansour Al-Mansour were discovered at Kaifan area, a sight which was very common in Kuwait during the heinous invasion, said Hamad Al-Fuzai. Despite the passage of time, Kuwaiti martyrs of all ages are still remembered for their sacrifices by all people living in the free and sovereign State of Kuwait. —KUNA