EVER since arriving at Harvard, I have been dismayed and incensed by the public opposition to President Bush's policy in the Gulf Crisis, which takes its form in ubiquitous signs, sit-ins and articles such as Jonathan Morgan's "A Soldier's Story." [September 14]
I might not have been so angered had I known that the sentiment behind the opposition was a general fear of war. But that is not the case. The main contention held by the dissidents is that the U.S. is not upholding any principle, but is solely protecting its oil interests. In real terms, the U.S. government is willing to let its boys abroad die just so that gas prices will be cheaper. Right? Wrong...
At this moment, my relatives in Kuwait are living in a nightmare. Our world was turned upside down in one day when, despite Arab League assurances, Iraqi troops stormed Kuwait.
TO THE historians, it was an unprecedented attack of one Arab country on another. To the Kuwaiti people, it was the first test of our military in a combat situation since our country's independence, 30 years ago.
Historically, Kuwaitis are familiar with resistance against occupying forces. However, the world has changed since the days of the Ottoman Empire and Iraq's forces could massacre Kuwait's relatively miniscule population in a matter of weeks. But still, we resist.
I learned from my cousin who managed to get his pregnant wife out of Kuwait that all boys in our family are learning to use the guns found in the streets. Even my younger cousins are learning easier tasks, such as using a grenade, while the elders lead the resistance at night.
A few weeks ago, a brave 19-year-old patriot drove a bomb-laden car into an Iraqi Army barracks, killing over 30 soldiers and herself. Such resistance seems to be growing stronger with each day, as more repatriated Kuwaitis sneak past the border troops, and as the resistance groups become more organized.
But Kuwait's resistance can in no way stand up to Iraq's Goliath force. In the past few days, Iraqi forces have taken severe measures to collectively "punish" the Kuwaiti people. Such measures include: obliterating an entire residential area, blasting and burning houses, and holding public executions of Kuwaitis.
Further, there have been countless reports of Iraqi soldiers expelling families from their homes, and stealing food--a commodity which is now more precious than oil to the Iraqis.
Such generalities of the Iraqi atrocities, however, do not take into account the horror stories that the New York Times fails to publish, such as the one of the Egyptian who tried to flee Kuwait with his wife and children.
At the border, an Iraqi sentry ordered the man's wife to get out of the car. Knowing what was about to happen, the man tried to persuade the sentry to allow him and his family to leave in peace. But the sentry cooly threatened that if she did not exit the car, he would kill one of her children. The husband was then accosted by some other soldiers. Panic-stricken, she got out of the car, and was brutally raped in front of her husband and children. By the magnanimity of the Iraqi government, they were then allowed to go in "peace."
Such atrocities have become common in my country.
AS EACH day goes by, Kuwaitis begin to fear that there will not be any attempts by the international community to help liberate them. So what does it all mean? It means that this is not about oil alone. Although oil is a factor, it was the principle of national sovereignty that led the United Nations Security Council to unanimously condemn Saddam Hussein's aggression towards Kuwait, and it is the principle of liberty for which Kuwaiti men, women, and children are now sacrificing their lives.
I am not afraid to speak on behalf of the Kuwaiti people when I urge all members of the Harvard community to stand beside us in our hour of need, and I ask all dissidents to please realize that there are human lives involved, and to please help join the Kuwaiti people's struggle for the liberation of our country.
B. A. E. is a visiting undergraduate from Kuwait. We withheld his name upon request to protect his relatives still in Kuwait.