The Day Dad was Almost Shot

I am dedicating this post to a person who has always supported, chastised, encouraged and loved me throughout my life – My DAD!

This is an incident that happened in my family during the infamous Gulf War in 1990. It was the year I started at my new school in the Third standard. The year we bought a new car – the Mitsubishi Colt.

On Aug 2nd 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed it as their 19th province. Little did we know that a new chapter was about to begin in the lives of many, including our own.

Expatriates and citizens alike started storing up food in freezers and selling stuff on the black market. Iraqi soldiers had taken up plundering and looting apartments by holding their occupants at gunpoint. There were also quite a few ‘in’-opportunists who tried to make a quick buck posing as Iraqi soldiers and trying to loot apartments. There were bangs and gun-fires to be heard in the night. We had all taped up our windows (to prevent them from shattering due to huge noises) and there were talks of the possible use of nerve gas in Kuwait. Many were beginning to contemplate leaving the land that gave wings to their dreams.

One day, while Dad was returning home from a trip to Kuwait City, his car was suddenly flagged down by a couple of Iraqi officers. Conversing in Arabic, they communicated that they wanted Dad to take them someplace. There were several stories circulating about people being taken away by the Iraqi military to the desert and robbed and shot. Mindful of these stories, and seeing the guns in their hands, Dad agreed without a word.

They quickly got into the car, with one occupying the passenger seat next to Dad and the other one, right behind him. Dad started up the car, and they were on their way to God knew where. As the two soldiers struck up a conversation, Dad prayed silently to be kept safe. He had a wife and two kids waiting anxiously for him to return home.

As they rode on, the car suddenly began acting up. It started sputtering and stuttering and came to a complete halt. As the soldiers looked on at Dad, he was at a complete loss about what to do next. This could end in two ways – either they would leave Dad alone and be off someplace else; else, they may even shoot Dad for leaving them in the middle of nowhere with a broken down car.

With some trepidation, Dad offered to get out and check out what went wrong. Grudgingly, they agreed, but always had their eyes trained on Dad. They probably suspected that Dad purposely got the car to break down to inconvenience them. Dad opened up the bonnet and found that something was wrong and that the car wouldn’t budge an inch without someone else’s help. Trembling, Dad apprised the soldiers of the situation, and suggested that they hitch a ride in another car, since this one wasn’t very reliable.

They meditated on this solution for a few minutes and soon warmed to it. Luckily (for our family), a Mercedes-Benz came next on the road, and the soldiers flagged it down and took off. Dad gave thanks to the Lord for the rescue and prayed for the occupants of the Mercedes-Benz that rescued him from a dire fate.

Now, 21 years after the war, I heard this story from my husband. Apparently, Dad talked about it to him while narrating his experiences in Kuwait during the war. And here is Dad today with his grandson –

Dad and Grandson
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17 thoughts on “The Day Dad was Almost Shot”

  1. A very old Chinese Taoist story describes a farmer in a poor country
    village. He was considered very well-to-do, because he owned a horse
    which he used for plowing and for transportation. One day his horse
    ran away. All his neighbors exclaimed how terrible this was, but the
    farmer simply said “Maybe.”
    A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with
    it. The neighbors all rejoiced at his good fortune, but the farmer just
    said “Maybe.”
    The next day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses; the
    horse threw him and broke his leg. The neighbors all offered their
    sympathy for his misfortune, but the farmer again said “Maybe.”
    The next week conscription officers came to the village to take
    young men for the army. They rejected the farmer’s son because of his
    broken leg. When the neighbors told him how lucky he was, the farmer
    replied “Maybe.” . . .
    The meaning that any event has depends upon the “frame” in which
    we perceive it. When we change the frame, we change the meaning.
    Having two wild horses is a good thing until it is seen in the context of
    the son’s broken leg. The broken leg seems to be bad in the context of
    peaceful village life; but in the context of conscription and war, it
    suddenly becomes good.

    Similarly if your dads car broke down on any other day, it would have been bad. But the soldiers getting into the car made it seem like a blessing from heaven. Little do we understand that even the bad things that happen in our life, happen for a reason 🙂

  2. What a terrifying story — and you told it with so much heart. I felt the fear your dad must have felt, and the uncertain future you faced at such a young age. I am so glad for your family that your dad was able to return home, safe.

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