La Verne Magazine
Insightful Foreign Viewpoints
by Terry Birdsall
photography by Juan Garcia
Affected little by the events of Sept. 11, international students Matt Reilly,
England, and Melanie Hanik, Germany, continue to enjoy their tennis games.
Reilly says, "It was interesting to see how another culture deals with
terrorism," referring to his country's struggle with the Irish Republican
ULV Foreign students, Melanie Hanik from Germany, and Matthew Reilly
from England, are accustomed to a life surrounded by tragedy. Their viewpoint
similar to other foreign students is quite different from American's reactions
to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. "Things like this happen every
day in England, and it doesn't reach the front page at all," says Reilly.
He explains when more than 3,000 people were killed in the Irish Republican
Army, it did reach the front page of the newspaper, but no extra fuss was
made about it. "The media in England will talk about it in black and
white facts, then explain what policies will be implemented to prevent it
from happening again," says Reilly. "They try to instill security
in the public's mind."
In America, people are not experienced with terrorism so they are shocked
when it happens here. Family and friends of Reilly agree that "because
America has so much power, the American people have the attitude that no
one would dare touch them." Reilly criticized the way the media dealt
with the attacks of Sept. 11. "I didn't think it was necessary to have
24 hour coverage on television for days. It strikes fear in people. I was
just sick of it. It was almost a joke."
The political response to the attacks poses two questions: What should
we do about the attacks? What can be gained from this experience? "I
think George Bush dealt with it in the right way," says Reilly. "I
think Americans are correct in going to Afghanistan. President George Bush
will get more support in building up the military."
Prime Minister Tony Blair of England looks at strengthening the alliance
of foreign policy by offering help. Reilly says he thinks it is an advantage
for England to help America because "If something should happen to
England, like war or economically, America will be there for us."
When tragedy strikes, people are more watchful and take extra measures
to assure their safety. "I think America is going to be the safest
it has ever been, because Americans are on full alert," says Reilly.
Parents of foreign students were frightened for their children's safety
being so far away from home. Students were put in the position of consoling
them. "My family was frightened for me at first, but now it's OK,"
says Melanie Hanik, a German exchange student. "I'm here so I see the
situation, so I feel safe." Even so, Hanik says she was concerned like
everyone else about what happened and whether foreign students would have
to go home.
Traveling to the United States is terrifying for relatives and friends
who want to visit students. "I have friends from Germany who wanted
to travel to the United States but were skeptic," says Hanik. "Now,
nothing has happened, so they are coming."
Millions of people in the world have been affected by the terrorist
attacks. Every person is watching collectively to see what changes will
occur. The continuing global struggle for World peace seems more important