Nashwa Nasreldin went to an international school in Kuwait in 1990. An Egyptian, she was one of thousands of school children, expatriate and native, who at the beginning of summer bid their classmates goodbye, promising to return in September to exchange anecdotes and catch up on the interesting things they had done, where they had been and interesting people they had met.
That never happened. In August that year, Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Unbeknownst to them, they had bid their final farewells.
Nashwa Nasreldin returned to Kuwait many years later as a reporter. She had an interesting story to tell and working with Al Jazeera, she had the resources to shape it. As the twentieth anniversary of the invasion passed by last week, Al Jazeera aired her report - the story of what happened to The Class of 1990.
Many of us have our stories to tell on the invasion. I was young but the events were radical, so they were imprinted in my memory. As years passed by and I realised how significant those events were, my memories of them became rooted deeper and deeper. I remember them like it were yesterday. I returned to my former school once since 1990, and saddened to find it had been converted into a fish market. I lost nearly all contact with four of my closest friends, and even in today’s highly connected world I have been unable to trace down three of them.
In war, you’ll take losing a friend.
Aside: K. Sankaran, the professor at TAPMI I connected with best, and whom I revered not only for his intellectual capacity and ability to capture abstract concepts through animated dialogue, would often quote R. W. Emerson,
"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to use with a certain alienated majesty"