Back to International Essays

Elisa Cuzzolin

My experience of war

The topic that I am going to talk about is war. More specifically about the war that happened in Iraq. It is my intention to speak about events that have happened since 11th September 2001 until nowadays. I chose to talk about this war because it is the only one that I remember; I didn't recall any specific event about other wars happened in the past because I was too young at that time. There are two different types of media that I remember having an effect on me: television and newspapers.

I clearly remember the day of the attack to the Twin Towers, the 11th of September 2001. It was a sunny afternoon and I was out with some friends. We were talking and joking when my friend Ilaria received a call from his boyfriend. He told her that two airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers and that he was watching those images on television. My friends and I didn't believe that such a horrible thing had happened and so we go on talking and joking. When I came back home my mother was watching those images on television too and at that moment I realized that what was told to me two hours before was true. I am not able to explain my thoughts and feelings about that moment, I passed from thoughtlessness to incredulity. I didn't believe that it was really happening and the idea of a war wasn't certainly in my mind. In the next days all television and newspapers talked about this fact and I understood that a war was not so far away.

March 2003. The American and English army attacked Iraq. Here in Italy It was about three o'clock in the morning so I was sleeping and I didn't know what was happening.
When I woke up I got to know about it from the morning TV news on television. I knew that it could be happened but I hoped that it didn't. In that moment I understood that something would be changed but I didn't know in what way and I was a bit scared. I was at home with my family when I heard about the war but nobody said anything about it. However, I spoke with my classmates and my teachers that morning in class and we shared our opinions about what was happened during the night. I thought that a war wasn't the right solution to solve the situation created after the attack to the Twin Towers.

But war influenced my life too. That year I had to participate to a school trip in Barcelona. We had to leave about two weeks after the war broke out. The journey could have cancelled due to the imminent war but fortunately it didn't happen. But my schoolmates and I weren't happy. In Barcelona teachers didn't allow us to go around alone except for lunch. I felt angry because war took our freedom. War limited my experience and it is not right! We couldn't stop war but we tried to do something. I participated at some demonstrations against this conflict. I remember one particularly. That day there were a lot of people, above all students. We walked through the streets bringing flags and protesting against the war. It was great because we were all there for the same reason even if we knew it wouldn't stop the war.

At the end of May 2003 the war was over. The Italian army went to Iraq to help the local population to establish the democracy and improve their situation after dictatorship era. At the beginning I thought that it was a good thing that Italian army brought peace in a nation devastated from thirty years of dictatorship. But I changed mind when the base of Italian army in Nassiriya was attacked from terrorists on 12th November 2003. There were 19 victims. I think it happened in the morning when I was at school so I got to know about it in the afternoon when I came back home. All television news and newspapers talked about what happened that day and the following. Although I didn't know any of the victims, I felt so sad but at the same time so angry. It wasn't possible that people went in Iraq to bring peace died in such a horrible way. In that moment I better understood the sorrow of American people about the attack of the Twin Towers. Funerals were passed on television and were watched from million of people. At the end of this tragedy I changed mind on people from Iraq, especially when I watched on television images that showed those people happy about what happened to Italian people.

Other serious episodes happened during the next two years. Nine Italian citizens were kidnapped from terrorist groups in Iraq and two of them were executed in a horrible way. The episode that I remember most is the first kidnapping of four Italians. I didn't remember when it happened and where I was in that moment but I know that I heard about it from television and I followed the fact with attention. After few days one of the four hostages was execute but people got to know about that after days. This fact made me impressed and sorrowed like the other deaths but the thing that I found disgusting was that television passed the video of the execution of the victim. For some aspects media exaggerated in reporting this type of news and in my opinion they have been inconvenient. Other people were kidnapped and then released. There was only another victim, an Italian television reporter kidnapped and then killed. His body is still missing and also in this case there is a video of his execution. I hope that this kind of things won't happen anymore because they are shameful.

War is over but everyday a lot of people still died in conflicts or terrorist attempts. Today people are scared, I am scared because terrorists threaten Italy and I don't want that other innocent people die. I am thinking at the attack occurred in London. When I saw the scenes of that tragedy on TV or in newspapers I couldn't believe that. I wondered "How could it happen?". And at the same time fear grew in me. Terrorists threaten Italy to attack the subway in Milan. My first thought went to my friends that go to school in Milan. The catch the subway everyday to go to university. I don't know how I will react if something happen to them. Then I remember also when I read about two bomb alarms in the newspaper. They were about the trains that I catch everyday. I read the article word by word until the end. I was shocked. Fortunately it was only a false alarm. But I thank God that I wasn't on those trains that day. How would I have reacted if it had been on those trains? I don't know. This entire situation influences me and media also make it worse because in some way they establish fear among people. I hope that all this situation ends but unfortunately I think that it will get worse.


Back to International Essays