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A Reluctant Guest

Jim Payne




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This is the first-hand account of Jim Payne, taken hostage during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces. He was to become a part of Saddam Hussein’s notorious ‘Human Shield’.

As occupying troops roamed the streets of Kuwait City, Payne, a foreign exchange dealer, spent a month in hiding, flitting from house to house, supported by friends of all nationalities and one particularly brave Kuwaiti. Eventually captured by the Republican Guard, he was taken into the desert and blindfolded, convinced that he was about to be executed. He was to spend a further three months as a hostage – or, as his guards insisted, as ‘a guest of Saddam’ – on various strategic sites across Iraq, never knowing if he was going to see his family and friends again.

Payne’s memoir, told thirty years later using notes, poems and letters he had written during his ordeal, vividly re-creates his life as a hostage: the numbing boredom, the nagging anxiety, the sudden surges of hope, the endless battles against despair, and, of course, the dark humour of never knowing if today was to be your last day.


About the author:

Following a career in foreign exchange both in the City of London and the Middle East, Jim Payne started and ran a successful business. He retired in 2006 and lives with his wife Jude in Essex.


192  pages

ISBN: 978-1-910996-42-3

Greenwich Exchange Category: Biography

Series: None