MARCH 17, 2003
Nico Pitney, Shawn Tallant, Leah C. Wells, Lizette
Gomez, Josh Hoffman, Michelle Zimney, Senita Slipac, Leron
Kattan, (805) 965-3443
American, Iraqi Students Bridge Communication
Gap Via Radio Dialogue
BARBARA, CA - March 17 - In a conversation lasting nearly two
hours, students at UC Santa Barbara, CA and students in Baghdad
reached out to promote communication between civilians of the
two countries, exchanging questions and concerns about the international
crisis in Iraq. It was a spirited and sometimes demanding dialogue
as students expressed their desires to hear one another at this
critical time when international channels are shutting down.
After a brief
period of introductions and information about their daily lives,
the participants quickly engaged more difficult issues such as
weapons of mass destruction, the liberation of Iraqis and the
human costs of war. The conversation ended on a positive note,
with students sharing personal mottos, poetry and jokes. Not surprisingly,
after hearing such passionate individual voices from each side,
students were reluctant to bring the exchange to a close and had
a hard time hanging up.
dialogue will be available at www.wagingpeace.org
on Monday, March 17th and will be broadcast on KCSB-FM 91.9 from
8:00-10:00 AM, PST on Monday, March 17th and Wednesday, March
19th. For rebroadcasts on non-commercial radio stations, contact
Keith Rozendal at email@example.com or (805) 893-2426.
firstname.lastname@example.org Hoffman, 24, a grad student in Middle Eastern
History, is active in campus groups dedicated to raising awareness
about the United States' role in Middle Eastern affairs. "One
critical aspect of this dialogue is that they put a human face
on Iraqis. Contrary to the Bush administration rhetoric, a military
invasion of Iraq won't just get Saddam but will kill thousands
of people, just like the ones we spoke with today."
ZIMNEY, email@example.com Zimney, 34, a volunteer at the Nuclear
Age Peace Foundation, is a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara
studying Islam and political movements in the Middle East. Zimney
said today: "I was struck by how clearly and forcefully our counterparts
communicated their frustrations and fears about the imminent war.
For us, it was refreshing to hear the humanity of Iraqi voices.
For them, it was a matter of life and death, not sure if they'd
live to have another chance to communicate with us."
firstname.lastname@example.org Slipac, 21, is a Global Studies senior
at UC Santa Barbara and is currently an intern at the Nuclear
Age Peace Foundation. Slipac pointed out today: "There are great
things happening in the United States to resist this unjustifiable
war. There are educated, concerned and active people in the U.S.
who are praying for the Iraqis and that this war can be averted."
email@example.com Kattan is a 23-year-old student at UC Santa
Barbara majoring in English. "I am dedicated to working to abolish
war. I see these types of discussions as the solution to international
differences that can bring about a world without war."
GOMEZ, firstname.lastname@example.org Gomez, 19, is a second year student
at UC Santa Barbara pursuing a career in law, hoping to work for
a Muslim non-profit organization focusing on educating Muslims
about their rights. As president of the Muslim Student Association,
Gomez actively participates in groups like H.O.L.A. (Honor y Orgullo
en Latino America) and SAFME (Student Action Forum on the Middle
East). About the dialogue she said, "I heard the terror in the
voices of the Iraqi students. How can the American people not
hear it in mine?"
WELLS, email@example.com Wells, 26, serves as the Peace Education
Coordinator for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Recently returned
from her third trip to Iraq, Leah remarked about today's dialogue:
"Our governments are not talking, so it is up to the students
to bridge the cross-cultural gap through dialogue and goodwill."
firstname.lastname@example.org Tallant, 22, an activist, writer
and peace educator, seeks to harmonize U.S. and international
interests through cultural exchanges and strengthening personal
relationships globally. He said, "Hearing the voices and opinions
of individuals helps me sympathize with their situation. If more
Americans had friends in Iraq, we would realize the consequences
of sanctions and war. Nobody wants to kill civilians, especially
if they're like our friends and family. Behind the casualties
are faces and real stories."
JDS, email@example.com Pitney, 21, a fourth-year philosophy major
at UC Santa Barbara, is an active member of the Student Coalition
for Peace and the Student Action Forum on the Middle East (SAFME).
"I can't imagine the shame that I'll feel if the bombs begin dropping
in Iraq," he said. "I wonder whether the students whose voices
I heard and laughed with will be silenced in my name."
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