On 2nd of August 1990, Iraq invaded its neighbour Kuwait. When Iraq’s old regime was in power, they had a mountain of debt because of the eight year war with Iran. The solution was to invade neighbouring Kuwait, the country with the second largest oilfield in the world – at the time, 10% of the world’s oil. Western leaders refused to accept this occupation. The United Nations condemned the invasion and called on Saddam to withdraw his troops from Kuwait.
By the end of 1990 the UN Security Council passed a new resolution; if Saddam’s troops didn’t withdraw from Kuwait in six weeks, the coalition would attack and force the Iraqis out. The mid-January 1991 UN deadline expired and a couple of days later the coalition members took to the skies and American aircraft started to bomb Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. This lasted for about 4 weeks.
Around that time, I was five years old. I had a rare disease which required me to have surgery on my arm. The best doctor that my family could find was in Baghdad. For that reason my parents and my aunt had to travel to Baghdad while under US bombing. I must say I don’t remember much about the trip, except the long hours that I had to share between my mother’s lap and my aunt’s lap to sleep.
We arrived at the home of my mum’s cousin’s. Everyone was hiding, I could only remember Baghdad with the big date trees and sitting on the swing with the twin children of my mum’s cousin. Oh, that swing, that made me so happy because we didn’t have those big swings in the garden. I guess I was the luckiest child between my other siblings because I was on the fancy swing. But hey, I was having a surgery so we were even.
Long story short, I had this pair of RED socks, which I still remember. They were loose from the top because they were my favourite socks and I used to wear them all the time. In the surgery hallway, as I was being taken alone, being all brave because of all the promises that my family had made to me about what would happen to me after the surgery (if I don’t become very emotional I can share that in another blog post).
Moving on, I remember them preparing my arm and cleaning it with sanitizer and putting the drug mask on my face whilst the nurse was asking me to count to 10. I remember I said 7 but after that I remember losing one pair of my red socks. My mother was laughing and crying at the same time because she was extraordinarily happy that I made it safe out of the surgery. They promised me they would get me new ones, but they never did – it went away with the other promises that they had told me. I am guessing they barely managed to pay for my surgery and they couldn’t afford the pair of socks or they didn’t care because I was alive and they didn’t have to cut off my right arm.
I forgot about them or I didn’t care or I simply didn’t find a pair of red socks after that. Until last Christmas that is, when I told a dear friend the story and she got me a pair of CK red socks as one of the presents in my Christmas stocking.
Every time I wear my pair of red socks, it just takes me back to those days, to the days when my mum would tell me you will grow up and become an engineer (which I didn’t) and the smell of the flowers in the garden, swinging on the big swing with the twins and the picture of the dates trees.
Maybe I would never have gotten those pair of socks if I hadn’t moved to London. Or this story may never been told; I wouldn’t have told the story if I was not madly in love with my socks and fashion just like when I was 5.
Socks – Calvin Klein; Shoes – Clarks; Pocket Square – Fariba Soltani; Trousers – Zara; Jacket & Shirt – Hackett