A Quiet Invasion

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In August 1990 Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.

Kirsty Norman was working for the Museum of Islamic Art, and due to fly out on the day of the invasion.

Then tanks started rolling past her apartment, but it was a quiet invasion: The gardener out watering the palm trees as they passed.

Two weeks later she was taken hostage, bringing her family history full circle as her father and grandparents had been interned by the Japanese.

20 years after those momentous events, Kirsty recounts the story of what happened to her, in two moving programmes based on her diaries and recollections.

She tried to escape across the desert but was caught and put in an Iraqi internment camp.

For the first time, Kirsty understood the position of being a refugee - displaced, and completely without security.

Released a month later, she came back very shaken, and very angry: The guilt of leaving the men behind, and anger at the way the British Embassy in Kuwait and the Foreign Office in London were handling the situation, which might now endanger their lives.

The events of August 1990 still vividly etched on her memory, she returns to Kuwait to find out how friends and colleagues there dealt with the events that tore their lives apart so suddenly.

And we find out what happened to the Islamic Art collection she was working with.

Producer: Ruth Evans

A Ruth Evans production for Radio 4.

20 years after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Kirsty Norman tells her story of being taken hostage.

02 LAST20100806

In August 1990 Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.

Kirsty Norman was working for the Museum of Islamic Art, and due to fly out on the day of the invasion.

Then tanks started rolling past her apartment, but it was a quiet invasion: The gardener out watering the palm trees as they passed.

Two weeks later she was taken hostage, bringing her family history full circle as her father and grandparents had been interned by the Japanese.

As momentous as those events seemed at the time, what happened to Kirsty and other British hostages was part of a much bigger story.

The events of August 1990 still vividly etched on her memory, Kirsty returns to Kuwait to hear how friends and colleagues there dealt with the events that tore their lives apart so suddenly.

In an intensely private society, she finds few people have talked publicly about their experiences before and hears remarkable tales of resistance and bravery.

The Islamic Art collection she was working with was shipped to Baghdad during the invasion and Kuwait's National Museum torched.

We find out what happened to the priceless treasures in the collection.

Producer: Ruth Evans

A Ruth Evans production for Radio 4.

Twenty years after being taken hostage there, Kirsty Norman returns to Kuwait.