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Should We Go To War, Or Look For Peace?
From Hoy
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 well."

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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