International students give opinions of war

The first few minutes of Wednesday’s afternoon International Roundtable were noisy – more chairs were carted in to seat the growing audience.

About 125 people gathered to listen to personal and international views from four international exchange students.

Assistant political science professor Steven Majstorovic facilitated the Roundtable. He began the forum by saying it was not designed to “bash” the United States, but rather to promote a “marketplace of ideas.”

Most of the students provided background information on their country’s viewpoints on the war with Iraq.

Linda Delamaire, a senior from France, spoke on her country’s last presidential election. She said the current president, Jacques Chirac, was forced to side for or against the war. He chose to oppose the aggressive U.S. stance to the war.

“I think he made a good choice,” she said.

Over 90 percent of French are opposed to the war, she said, and she believes the French have never been as unified on an issue.

Providing the unique perspective of being both a Muslim and French was Hanene Hamdoun. The senior gave information on the Arab League and how its effects are felt across the European continent.

She said the world knows Saddam Hussein is a tyrant, but feels the American government wants to be a strong leader in the world and eventually “want to take control in the Middle East.”

Junior Isabell Krumpholz stressed although her home country, Germany, is against the war, they are not against the United States.

She said it was the first time Germany had said “No” to the United States’s wishes. Krumpholz added that a diverse range of religions in Germany oppose the war.

One message each of the students on the panel drove home was that they, and their countries, remain anti-war.

“This is not the solution – this is not the way to tackle the problem,” said Alexander Shilovsky, a junior from Russia. “The U.S. is trying to wage a war without global approval.”

He said those actions don’t differ much from the definition of a tyrant.

At one point, Majstorovic gave the latest news of U.S. forces moving towards Baghdad. He said the next few months with American forces in Iraq would be “very educational” and “only time and history will tell.”