We Go To War, Or Look For Peace?
February 9, 2003
By Liza Rosas-Bustos
Andreas Michael, an 18-year-old high school student, knows little
about the imminent war. Even though he works in an internet cafe,
and has access to news Web sites, the young man ignores Bush's words
about Hussein being a threat to peace. He doesn't know about the
experts' opinions, who predict that the United States will invade
Iraq. Nor has he heard about Nelson Mandela's critique that Bush
is ignoring the UN in his eagerness to attack.
But if there is a war, and he is drafted, the
only thing he knows is that he wouldn't go anywhere. "A resound
no, because I don't believe in that cause. Maybe I haven't read
about what is going on, but I feel that this is somebody else's
war," he said.
The Croatian Vazmenko Vondulic, from Sunnyside, Queens, has a
different opinion. He says he would volunteer to go to war. With
a newspaper in his hand, Vondulic, 51 years old, proudly shows his
identification tag from Vietnam. "I think we have to show an
example, and demonstrate that they can't walk all over us. It is
not about revenge. We are a democracy, and a free country. And we
believe in democracy for other countries," he said before leaving
a newspaper store on Roosevelt Avenue.
But if there is someone who would not even consider going to war,
it is Leonora Castro, a 36-year-old mother and Queens resident who
works as a babysitter. Leonora, who is going back home to take care
of her children, doesn't want the war, but her reasons are different.
ģI think the economy is really bad. There is no need for a war,
when these things can be fixed by dialogue."
Jkhan Mustafa, a 19-year-old student from Pakistan, says that
if he is called, he would not go and fight. The young man, who works
in Jackson Heights, opens his big blue eyes and says that the alternative
is peace. ģI should be against invading, because it isn't just.
In the country, they are attacking people," he said with a
marked accent. "It is similar to what is going on in Afghanistan,
but they don't need to attack. They need to get together and talk
about the problems."
Chantal El Ayed, a Morrocan-American, has a similar opinion. She
hates to see the deaths of so many humans. "If they call me,
I would have to enlist because I am a citizen, and in order to become
a citizen I had to promise that I would do this," said Chantal.
She would prefer "to be a volunteer, to help children. This
war is caused by the personal interests of some people and I don't
have the heart to kill anyone."
The street gives its voice. Everyone appears to have a different
perspective on why there should be, or should not be war, and why
we should keep the peace. An African-American MTA employee, for
example, who asked not to be identified, said, "I think we
all should go and that this country should establish mandatory recruitment,
because there are institutions with free schools."
Nick Bolbasis, a 38-years-old real estate agent, says that he
became sad to see the newspaper headlines, and see so many families
getting split apart as soldiers are deployed and forced to leave
their families. "It is not that someone is going to invade
the country, it is just an excuse. Hussein is a bad dictator, and
he should be killed, but we shouldn't go to the war," he says.
"I would like to see Bush saying goodbye to his children as
But away from the newspapers is Andreas Michael. While he eats
a pizza and apologizes for not being informed about what is going
on in the world, he says, "it is good that we are trying to
keep the arms away from the bad guys, but I also know that all this
is to be in control of what we are doing in a global way."
Translated from Spanish by Jonathan Charnay
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