Adel Al-Yousifi is a Kuwaiti businessman, photographer, writer, and social reformer. He awoke in London on the morning of August 2, 1990, to hear Iraqi troops were overrunning his country. After liberation, he returned to Kuwait as soon as air flight was permitted in March 1991 and found utter ruin surrounded by an inferno.
After checking on family and friends, he took his camera
and began recording the devastation. Starting in the South, he made expeditions into the desert and then worked his way up the Coast, to the City, the Suburbs, and finally the North. Al-Yousifi took pictures every day from March till the last fire was put out in November.
The result, amassed in 15,000 photos, is evidence of the extent of Iraq’s massive looting, vandalism, and arson.
From this collection, he chose for this website 1,100 images of the wreckage plus 100 new photos to stress the invasion’s Human Cost. Despite the scale of this undertaking, too much was wrecked for one person to record entirely. The images only hint at the flames’ heat and height, the size of the black plume, the odor of oil burning and roads lined with garbage and corpses, and a liberated people’s joy mingled with shock and despair.
This website is an extension of three Al-Yousifi books: The EvidenceEvidence II: a Study of the Damage to Kuwait from the Iraqi Invasion of 1990-1991, and Free Kuwait: a Testimony from London. Al-Yousifi worked as a volunteer photographer for the Free Kuwait Campaign in London during the occupation. All photos here are his, including those of dioramas depicting the invasion, occupation, and war from the Bait Al-Watani museum.