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LOCAL Interview :: Education & Youth : Peace & War

Entrevista/Interview: Fernando Suarez del Solar

Escucha a la entrevista en español que fue transmitido en Radio Libre Santa Cruz; o la puede leer en Ingles.
Listen to the audio interview [in Spanish] broadcast on Free Radio Santa Cruz; an English language transcript follows.
fernandosuarezdelsolar.mp3 (2981 k)
Fernando's son Jesus A. Suarez del Solar Navarro was among the first soldiers killed in Iraq, when the latest phase of the decades long asault on Iraq began more than two years ago. He speaks about his experiences since then, talking to youth about alternatives to the military, to families about his experience losing a son, and traveling to Iraq to meet with Iraqi families who are experiencing the same pain.

I talked to Fernando on May 27th, 2005 at the Youth and Power event in Watsonville, Califas.

FRSC interviewer:
Before the death of your son, what did you think of the war in Iraq--it's been two years now

Suarez del Solar:
I was always against the war, against any war, but specifically the Iraq war, before my son went over there, we talked together and I told him that what the US is looking for there is political control--because of the strategic geographic location of Iraq and the situation with oil--they lacked a presence in the Middle East. So when my son was going to war, I definitely opposed it, but I respected his decision to go. He said he wouldn't see combat, he'd work and don't worry he'd come home. So I was always opposed to war before my son died, and after this I began to give interviews and speak out against the war.

So then you traveled to Iraq, to visit the place where your son died... we just saw in a film [shown at the Youth & Power event in Watsonville] that you were able to find the exact spot. Can you talk a little bit about how you felt in those moments?

Well, it was something that was very difficult. When I entered Iraq, crossing the border from Jordan, I was quite emotional. I felt that I was going to meet him. And when I went to Diwaniya, as the place where my son died is called, I felt a very strong emotion somewhere between pain and happiness. Pain, because I knew that his blood remained there, in that place. But happiness too because I had thought for a while that I was visiting him, and that I'd be able to reunite with his energy, that I would take his spirit home with me. For this it was very important for me to go to that place. Because I felt his precense, and since that moment, I've felt more united with him, like he's no longer in Iraq, but with us in our house.

I'm here in Watsonville with Fernando Suarez del Solar, and we just saw heard him speak but we also saw a film about his experiences and about his trip to Iraq. I want to ask you about your motivation, for the work you're doing these days. Obviously there is sadness, and also your faith, but what do you have motivating you to continue this work?

Well, my major motivation is when I go to a High School, and I talk to the youth, and later on I recieve a note, or a call, or an email from a student who says "thank you--I was thinking of joining the military, and after I heard you speak, now I made the decision not to enlist." This is my compensation, my motivation--these kids who achieve some understanding, who change their way of thinking and don't enter into the army, but rather continue with school or enter college and do something positive for the community. This is why--to see this kids, like the kids here today at the [Youth & Power] event, so many kids who are aware that militarism is not the solution.

Thanks for your time and your words--it was a please to speak with you.
You're listening to Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.1 FM

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