Non-natives feel fear, uneasiness

By Stephanie V. Siek
March 20, 2003
The Post


Ohio University senior Dalal Al-Mubayei was quite surprised when someone told her yesterday afternoon that the United States and its allies could attack Iraq within hours.

“I don’t really keep track of what’s going on,” she had admitted earlier in the conversation. “I forget about it, because it’s depressing.”

Al-Mubayei said she is not only worried about her family in al-Qurain, a suburb of Kuwait City, but they are worried about her safety here.

“It’s kind of scary. You don’t know if Hussein is going to do something,” she said, hours before a deadline for Saddam Hussein and his cons to leave Iraq was set to expire.

“Something” is what has Al-Mubayei’s family taping shut their windows and doors and stocking up on canned food. She was too young – only 9 years old 00 to remember the 1991 Gulf War, but Kuwaitis were following the same procedures then, and she said they are sick of having to do it again. She supported the idea that Saddam should be removed from power, but she was uncertain that a war that could result in a high number of civilian casualties was the best solution.

“I feel like maybe there are other ways to solve the problem. I know Saddam is… stubborn and he won’t just say, ‘I am leaving.’ He’s been bad to his own people all along.” She sighed. “I don’t know – I don’t like war in any context. What’s the point of war, anyway, anywhere?”

In a telephone interview shortly before President Bush announced bombs had begun falling on Baghdad, Turkish national and OU assistant professor of electrical engineering Savas Kaya said he was more concerned about the effects on the region and the world than about his family in Istanbil, or a so-called “Turkish problem.” He said he thought U.S. media had exaggerated the possibility of divisions within Turkey as a result of a war in Iraq.

“This will upset the stability of the Middle East and create a number of factions, divisions within Iraq,” Kaya said. “Ultimately, when American objectives are achieved, and when and if they leave, this will create instability for a long time to come.”

Caroline Bennett and Cyril Pernaud, who are from France, said Tuesday that – after watching Bush’s speech the night before, they felt like it was “the end of the world as we know it.”

“We have some international law since World War II, and now (Bush) just erased it and does not respect the majority of the worldwide opinion,” said Bennett, who moved to Athens in October.

Pernaud, a graduate student in OU’s Department of Modern Languages, left yesterday to spend spring break with his family in Toulon, in the south of France. He said they were more worried about him flying on the day of a possible strile against Iraq than about terrorist retaliation in Athens. He himself was not worried about either one, but said he wondered what would happened in the aftermath of a U.S. invasion.

“Everyone has different perspectives of this war, and for me, it scared me,” Prenaud said. “To be here and not in France – and to be scared of consequences, of this kind of instability.”

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