Within a week of the World Trade Center collapsing around her son, Phyllis Rodriguez and her husband, Orlando, were trying to stop an invasion of Afghanistan. Not in her son’s name, she said.
When the United States went to war against Iraq, she called it unjust and immoral. It would not end terrorism, she said.
Then last week, when Nicholas Berg’s father refused to celebrate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death, she agreed. Another killing would not stop violence, she said.
Rodriguez, the former executive director of the Westchester Civil Liberties Union, held strong views before her son’s death and she holds them now. In all the clamor over the death of al-Zarqawi, over Ann Coulter’s ugly attack on the Sept. 11 widows whom she called the witches of East Brunswick, over the gruesome bombings and beheadings in Iraq, Rodriguez is a reminder that not everyone wanted revenge after al-Qaida attacked the United States.
"One of the strongest reactions I had after my son, Greg’s, death, was that I did not want to be in any way the cause of suffering of other parents or other people," Rodriguez, who lives in White Plains, said this week. "I have not in the last four-and-a-half years wavered from the feeling."
She’s in the minority, but from the start there were others like her. In early 2002, Rita Lasar spent nine days in Afghanistan to draw attention to the victims of the American bombings