Letter to Chairman Lantos of the CCHR
October 11, 1990
The Honorable Tom Lantos, Chairman
Congressional Committee on Human Rights
Dear Mr. Lantos:
I tried to talk to you this morning, but your assistant Bridget Davis asked me to send
a letter and the material I talked to her abut by mail. Hoping to hear from you in the near
future and to be able to come and testify at your respected committee regarding the Kuwaiti-Iraqi issue.
As you can see from my enclosed material, I was in Kuwait and Baghdad from Sept. 2 to Sept.18. I spent 10 days in Baghdad and 5 days in Kuwait where I stayed with my brother, who has been living in Kuwait for the last 30 years. I have lots of relatives in Kuwait, my niece is married to a Kuwaiti, and lots of my relatives and friends numbering in the hundreds have been in Kuwait most of their lives.
During my stay in Kuwait, I used a CNN camera to take some videos and interviews and it was~ the only camera allowed in Kuwait since the invasionl4 went to hospitals, super markets, business districts, I talked to Kuwaitis in their homes and at private meetings. Foreign nationals who are married to Kuwaitis, many Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Lebanese, etc. living in Kuwait and I have a very clear picture of what happened in Kuwait and what things are fact from fiction. So when I listened to some of the testimony, I was disappointed that some of those incidents mentioned, which are considered horrible, never happened. I specifically went to the hospitals including the Sabah, the biggest general hospital in Kuwait and asked about those reports of the Iraqi taking incubators and other equipment, leaving premature infants to die, and patients disconnected from life support, who died, L and was told that never happened. I saw with my own eyes lots of equipment, not in short supply. I saw people being treated without discrimination, Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis as well as Iraqi soldiers.
I did hear about isolated cases of rape, but they are not systematic and not wide spread, otherwise I would have heard hat from the Kuwaitis themselves, my relatives and the people I talked to in Kuwait. There has been lots of exaggeration about those atrocities and I question the credibility of some of the witnesses. I did find out some harsh treatment from some soldiers during the checkpoints. Also I heard about the looting by some supposed to be Iraqi soldiers from houses and others, however, the wide spread looting against the ~ Kuwaiti shops in the first few days of the invasion was done mostly by foreign nationals, non-Kuwaitis, who were at the time in Kuwait, numbering more than one and one-half million. I did report those findings to the Ministry of Information on my return to Baghdad. However by the other token, I heard about horrible stories from foreign nationals in Kuwait about the mistreatment of the Kuwaitis against the non-Kuwaitis, and I wish your committee would expand these hearings about this mistreatment which in many cases amounts to legalized slavery, such as Kuwait. sponsors of thousands of foreign nationals from Sri Lanka, India, etc. to work as maids in Kuwait at a very low wage, which amounts to no more than $60 a month to be sold to other Kuwaiti sponsors at a profit that sometimes came to a few more dollars. I heard the story about Kuwait not allowing foreign nationals to have a drivers license except in special circumstances, not to own any business or any kind of property. I heard about the Kuwaitis who should own 51% of any business even without putting in any money, effort, to take over the business when it prospers and to leave the foreign nationals without any thing, and at the same time being deported. A non-Kuwaiti will be deported if he crossed a traffic red light, basically to make the Kuwaiti escape this kind of rule. I heard horrible stories about those non-Kuwaitis who are born in Kuwait and when they reach the age of 21 had to get out of Kuwait because they are not allowed to stay. Hundreds of families were shattered completely when their children were forced out of Kuwait. There are lots of things I could tell your committee about it.
I do respect you, Mr. Lantos, I heard you many times having hearings on other human rights issues, and I feel very proud as an American to have people such as you going deep into those human rights violations, but for your committee to be fair and even handed, they have to hear from both sides and separate the facts from the fictions. This is why I am respectfully asking you to allow me to appear before your committee. I am a Medical Doctor, an American citizen, and a Democratic activist.
Mohammad H. Said, M.D.
Vice—Chairman, Democratic Central Committee
Grant County, Washington State
Recently returned from Kuwait.
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