The Phoenix and the Faithful Friend
Ismail Fahd Ismail
The Phoenix and the Faithful Friend is the life story of Mansi Ibn Abihi (literally: ‘Forgotten One, Son of his Father’), who comes from a class of Kuwaitis called the bedun (‘without’) because they lack Kuwaiti citizenship. Released from prison after the liberation of Kuwait, he decides to write his life story, addressing it to the daughter he has never seen, Zeinab – who was born whilst Kuwait was under occupation - in the hope that she will get to know her father. Mansi recalls his sufferings as a bedun and tells his daughter of his family: of his mother, who preserves the family’s documents in the hope they can apply for citizenship and of his marriage to Ohood, a Kuwaiti, whose brother Saud refuses to accept the union of a bedun and a Kuwaiti. He writes about his life as a self-made young man and the invasion of Kuwait, when he was forced to join the Iraqi ‘people's army’, but managed to escape and join the Kuwaiti resistance. Finally he writes of his imprisonment following liberation, and his subsequent release.