Opinions of war have no nationality

Opinions of war have no nationality

by Vania Quiroz

Since the first time I wrote for The Simpsonian, I knew there would be people who would disagree with what I had to say. It’s logical, we all think differently. However, I also have to say that I believe we all should respect each other and that was why I wrote my article in the April 4 issue: to express my concern about how respect was not being enforced on our campus lately.

Certainly, at some point I stated my position about this war, but I don’t think it changes the context of the main idea. I wrote it, and I write it again, taking down the crosses, threatening people by phone, or stealing signs is a cowardly way of showing support for the war.

Apparently, a Simpson student didn’t understand it this way, and decided the best way to counter my opinion was by sending me an e-mail asking me to stop my anti-war articles. The individual has since apologized. But this is what I have to say in response to what he originally wrote:

“How dare you come to our country and tell us how to protect ourselves?”

I read the two articles where I have written my position about this war and I couldn’t find any part where I said “doing this” or “doing that” is the best way to defend the United States. I’ve never been in the army nor been involved in politics, so I have no experience with strategy of defense or foreign policy. I wrote what I thought, not what the government should do.

“You have no respect for those of us who are pro-war.”

The fact that I don’t share the same opinion about the war doesn’t mean I don’t respect you. I believe you have reasons to think that way, and though they may not seem good reasons for me that doesn’t mean I’m going to judge you. Respect is a right we all deserve, but remember that our actions may determine the amount of respect people have for us. How much respect do you think I have for someone who vandalizes the property of others?

“It wasn’t Mexicans who were killed on Sept. 11 and the Mexican government is too cowardly to even join the fight now.”

I’m not sure if there were Mexican citizens killed during the attack on the Twin Towers, but I know there were Mexican-Americans killed there which means the same thing for me. Also, I’m pretty sure that among the victims, there were people that at some point had family ties with Mexicans. However, even if there had been no one related to my nationality, I would still have felt the same sadness for all those people whose lives ended in a terrible way. I’m a human being, and the fact that they were all human beings is more than enough for me to grieve the loss of so many lives.

Concerning the actions of my government, I have to say it required a lot for it not to support the United States in this attack. Mexico depends on the United States, and regardless of how it might affect its relation, the Mexican government stayed away from the conflict. I didn’t see the press conference Mexican President Vincente Fox gave, so I don’t know with certainty why he took that position. I’m sure he stated the reasons of why he would not follow the United States on this occasion, and I believe he did it because of what the population thought about it.

“Rights are reserved for American citizens only. According to my sources that is not you.”

Your sources are right, I’m not an American citizen, in fact, I’m not even a resident, but I don’t think it has anything to do with me having rights. What kind of rights do you mean? Having the right to vote? Yes, that’s a right reserved for American citizens only. I assume there must be more rights that are reserved for American citizens, but I don’t think that by expressing my opinion I’m “taking” a right that does not apply to me because of my status on your country.

“Leave the debates to the Americans and just get the education that you came here for and leave.”

Since I was very young, I was taught a debate was when people with different points of view got involved in a discussion to persuade others or just to express their thoughts. I was also taught that debates must be conducted in a civilized way and that one must show respect for the other person’s reasons. So far, I have not involved myself in a debate about this war, yet I feel that I could contribute and learn from it.

If you’re telling me that only Americans have the right to discuss this issue, then I guess I’m allowed to do so. The geography of my country is part of North America, which makes me an American, too. America is the name of a continent, not of a nation, don’t forget that.

On the other hand, you’re right in saying that I came here to get an education. It has meant a lot of sacrifices, but until now I haven’t regretted my decision at all. I know I’m in a different country, but even in my own nation I try to do my best and stick to the rules because I don’t want to be a problem for society. I don’t see myself as a bad influence for the people on this college or for the rest of the population, so I don’t understand why you ask me to leave once I finish school.

“It would be greatly appreciated by the pro-war if you would stop the articles.”

As long as the war keeps going on, the question of who’s right and who’s wrong will still be an influence not only in my articles, but in the articles of more writers who want to share their opinion with our readers. Which brings up a question to my mind? Why did you send this e-mail just to me? You also wrote, “I get so tired of hearing about the anti-war,” meaning that you would like to see that The Simpsonian would publish no more anti-war articles. Wouldn’t it be more logical to send it to The Simpsonian e-mail address to reach all the writers or contributors who write supporting the anti-war position?

I know the war is a subject that affects us all in different ways, and we cannot just ignore it because it’s something we have to deal with at some level everyday. I wrote my position because I felt inclined to do so, and I want to think that you sent me that e-mail because you felt you had to let me know your position of the war and not because I’m a foreign student. As a writer, I’m always open to criticism because from a constructive critic I can improve my work. However, I have to say I found some of the terms you used to be more of a “destructive” criticism. I don’t think it was the right way to approach me or anyone else.

There will always be people with different ideas than ours, and we should all be able to express them knowing that even though people might not agree with them they will respect them. There’s a reason for the First Amendment to exist; let’s use it and let the others use it in the best way in order to maintain the freedom of expression we’re so proud of.