San Jacinto College South students learned a lesson of peace and compassion Friday as they listened to the four Soviet citizens speak in human terms of the differences and likenesses of the Soviet Union and the United States.
The four, brought to the U.S. through the efforts of The U.S. / U.S.S.R. Initiative and the Soviet Peace Committee, answered questions for an hour from the four panelists composed of San Jac South instructors. The questions, most of which were asked via the panel by San Jac students, ranged from the tooic of U.S.'Soviet relations to AIDS to the effects of television.
One of the visitors, a weel-known "poetress" was even asked to recite some of her poetry.
Rimma Kazakova, who has devoted much of her writings to the subject of war, was received well by the audience for both her candor and sense of humor.
I'm an ordinary woman, she said through English teacher Marina Izvecova, also one of the guests. "I like children. I like to work. I like men. But there's something higher than all these things . . . Let us work to save mankind."
The poem Kazakova recited was interpreted to mean, "Don't send your children to war because they may not come home.
Don't make them correct someone else's mistakes. Don't send your children to war. Send them to school."
Accompanying Kazakova and Izvecova were Vladimir Bruzgin, a cancer specialist and member of Physicians for Peace, and Mikhail Schedrov, a former English teacher and member of the Soviet Peace Committee.
The four are in the U.S. for two weeks. They spend Thursday through Sunday in the Pasadena/South Belt area touring the sites and making appearances before groups. From there they will visit San Francisco and New York before going home.
Mikhail addressed the current "restructuring" of the Soviet Union under the leadership of General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. He said the Soviet citizenry is concerned with more than arms control.
"People now have more opportunity to express their attitudes," he said. "Now people are lining up to buy newspapers in the morning.
People are concerned about their destiny. We are paying more attention to our educational system which is far from being perfect. "
Students at the presentation say they were impressed with the visitors and the philosophies they shared.
I was very impressed because they were so passionate," said literature and sociology student Jodi Johnston. "If I were to go to the Soviet Union I would hope I could share with so much feeling.
So many of our feelings (about each other) is because we do not know and understand each other."
Nursing student Tracy Blackburn said that before the presentation, she thought more in terms of "our government and their government" when thinking of the Soviet Union.
The program was coordinator by San Jac South sociology instructor Kathy Longshore and San Jac Central history instructor Patsy Goss, members of U.S./U.S.S.R. Initiatives.