Students provide world-wide perspective on American tragedy

By on September 20, 2001

Last Tuesday’s terrorist attacks were acknowledged all over the world. Not only Americans, but people from 26 different countries are still missing. Over 100 people from Britain, more than 150 Mexicans and nearly 100 Russians are still missing according to the New York Times.
Many international students at QU were subject to worried phone calls from parents in their home countries. Most of them told their parents not to worry, and that they are in no more danger here than anywhere else in the world.
“In my opinion, what happened was a coward act of some extremists who want to terrorize the world,” said Mohammad Jasim, an international student from Pakistan. “Killing civilians in any part of the world is condemnable and not permitted by any religion.”
Jasim does not feel that he is in any danger here in the United States at the moment.
“I have a strong belief that death can come at any time and anywhere, whether it be America, Africa or Asia,” he said.
Sophomore Alain Portenier from Switzerland agreed.
“I don’t feel anymore threatened here than anywhere else,” he said.
After the attack on the World Trade Center, Portenier contacted his parents, who weren’t particularly worried about his safety either.
“My mom lives in Israel,” Portenier explained. “She said `this is the first time United States can understand what we’re going through.'”
Portenier thinks that the United States was a definite target for attack, since there is no other country in the world that has reached its level of wealth.
“If any country or group wanted to strike against capitalism, the first place would be towards the U.S.,” he said.
However, he thinks it is important for the U.S. not to retaliate.
“That will just justify that killing is okay,” he said. “Now the U.S. has to be increasingly careful, because they have the strongest army in the world, but with methods these opponents are fighting with, the U.S.’s methods are the weakest.”
Reshma Boloor is a freshman here at QU. She was born in India but her family now lives in Saudi Arabia.
“People have been really nice,” she said. “They are not pointing any fingers at me.”
Even though Boloor has seen signs and graffiti in her dorm that clearly state some students’ opinions, she does not feel threatened.
Boloor talked to her parents after it happened, and they tried to calm her down, even though she wasn’t very upset, she said. She does not want to take a stand on what should or should not happen now.
“I just don’t want to listen to it,” she said.
Junior Hideyuki Oku from Japan was in the library when he found out what had happened.
“My family called from Japan and they were worried,” he said. “I told them this is a quiet and safe place.”
Oku said he is a little bit confused about the way the terrorist attack is compared to Pearl Harbor and he is worried that the comparison will make Americans to feel angry about Japan again.
“This is totally different,” he said. “This is about terrorism.”


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