Students Feel Disconnected From Far-Off War

JAMMIE SALAGUBANG
El Vaquero Staff Writer

President Bush continues the military campaign against Baghdad, with forces moving within 20 miles of the city.

TV stations continually broadcast images of explosions and trucks snaking through a bright, hot desert.

It’s bright and hot here, too, but that may be the only connection. The local campaign around here is for board member seats. The biggest trucks are at construction sites, and the explosions heard are usually coming from students studying for tests.

“I hate to say it,” said Chris Hancombe, 20, undecided, “but since [the war’s] already started, I feel that there’s nothing I can do about it.”
With midterms coming up, everyday worries have overtaken international ones.

Even with the constant media exposure, many students feel distanced from the war.

“I haven’t really been paying attention to it a lot because I’ve been paying attention to studying,” said Diane Boyadian, 19, undecided.
Karine Isaghulyan, 26, sociology major, said, “It’s just like whatever. We have enough stress.”

This apathy may, in part, be attributed to feelings of powerlessness.
“It shouldn’t have started in the first place,” said Marnie Hagopian, 20, health education major, “but it’s not up to us. President Bush decides.”
Hagopian added that she doesn’t think that rallies really help, either.
Edward Cherkezian, 19, sociology major, said, “I feel all the protesting that takes place is unnecessary because Bush is going to carry out his plan, no matter what.”

Many students said they did not feel affected by the war, even with Bush’s announcement that terrorist groups, or Saddam Hussein, might try “to bring terror to our shores” in retaliation to the Iraq invasion.
“I haven’t really noticed a change on campus,” said Danielle Directo, 18, journalism major.

“I feel bad for the people over there,” said Cherkezian, “but other than emotionally, I’m obviously not affected.”

But Nina Farhdian, 46, an accounting major, has definitely been affected.
She emigrated from Iran, a neighboring country of Iraq, four years ago, and tried to explain what Saddam Hussein did to the Iranian people.
She mentioned chemical bombings and called Hussein a “crazy man.”

“I agree with this war,” she said. “I don’t like people killing each other, but they need to take out this crazy man.”

Farhdian also said she has many relatives still living in Iran. They too feel like they can’t do anything about the war, but for a different reason “They’re afraid,” she said.