Iraqis 'seeing the truth now'

1 Apr 2003 | Sgt. Joseph R. Chenelly

Kuwaiti civilians have volunteered to help Marines and other coalition troops bring humanitarian aide to Iraqi people during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Kahlid Alanzi, who left a job with the Kuwait Ministry of Information to help, was talking to Iraqi citizens and conveying their needs before he was wounded March 27.

"The situations I saw in the first few days of the war were terrible," he said. "There was no food, no water. There was no gas, no electricity. Many [Iraqi civilians] came to us trying to kiss our hands. We said 'no, there is no need. We are here to help you. I would not be here otherwise.'

"Others think we're here to kill them," Kahlid added. "Their government has fed many lies to the people, but they are seeing the truth now."

He jumped at the chance to help the Iraqis because he knows first-hand what the Iraqi regime is capable of.

"When Saddam came into Kuwait [in 1990], we felt his evil for seven months," Kahlid said from a field hospital at Logistical Support Area Viper. "It was like a very bad dream. I went to sleep one night in peace. In the morning all the country was in ruins. A nightmare was thrust upon us. I know what the Iraqi people feel, but they have lived with Saddam for more than 30 years."

An attack on a coalition encampment ended Kahlid and another Kuwaiti's tour.  A mortar shell struck a wall they were taking cover near.

"I was sitting with my friend eating when it began to rain fire from every direction," he said. "The storm lasted for 10 maybe 15 minutes."

His partner took the brunt of the shrapnel and flying debris. The concussion ruptured one of Alanzi's eardrums. His equilibrium and hearing were instantly blown.

Both men returned to Kuwait for additional medical care.

More Kuwaitis are volunteering, according to Alanzi. In explaining his reasons for risking his own life, he showed glaring differences between his point of view and that of suicide bombers.

"We want to help, and many of us are willing to sacrifice safety for that," he said. "This is the right thing to do.

"It doesn't matter if we're Kuwaiti, Iraqi or American; we're all humans, and we should all love one another. A new, strong relationship is beginning."