After the 22 May terror attack in Manchester, one anti-terror fighter from the city released a heartfelt message. And Britain needs to hear it.
“We’re with you. We love you.”
There are a number of British volunteers who have joined the fight against Daesh (Isis/Isil) in Syria. They have fought alongside some of the most effective ground forces (the Kurdish-led YPG forces of Rojava in northern Syria) which are currently advancing on the self-proclaimed Daesh capital of Raqqa as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Former Pirates Of The Caribbean actor Michael Enright, who comes from Moss Side in Manchester, is one of those volunteers. And after the terror attack on 22 May, in which at least 22 people died, he recorded a video message.
He called the attack, now claimed by Daesh, “just pure evilness”. And he insisted:
I would say to the people of Manchester and England and everywhere, get behind us. We’re with you. We love you. Help us. We’re taking it to them…
“Stand with us”
Through terror attacks in the West, Daesh hopes to foster divisions between different religious communities. But the reality is that the group represents a tiny extremist sect and attacks people from all faiths (most terrorism victims are actually Muslim civilians, and almost all of the worst affected countries are Muslim-majority nations). With this in mind, Enright and other British volunteers fighting against Daesh in Syria wrote a letter calling for unity in the wake of the 22 March terror attack in London. They said:
Our ranks are made up of Kurds, Arabs, Yezidis, Brits, Yanks, Canadians, Aussies, Asians, Europeans – Muslims, Christians, Alevis, atheists – too many faiths and races to list. A multi-ethnic, multi-faith entity, standing united against hate and extremism. The majority are, in fact, Muslims, and not only are we proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them – the truth is, we can’t do this without them… The only way to defeat hate and extremism is to not give in to it… Don’t stand with Britain First, the EDL, UKIP or those who talk and think like them. Stand with us.
“The only way to defeat hate and extremism is to not give in to it”
History teaches us that official Western military action abroad is a gift for extremists. The invasion and destruction of Iraq, for example, gave the forerunners of Daesh fertile ground to grow. And it paved the way for the high levels of terrorism we see today. Increased Western involvement and errors, meanwhile, simply pour fuel on the fire – because they’re exactly what Daesh wants.
What we can and should do (as Enright and other British volunteers point out) is to support the local forces which are fighting the fire of extremism in Syria. The YPG, for example, has been defending Rojava’s secular, multi-ethnic, and feminist experiment in direct democracy since 2012. But in spite of its key role in the fight against Daesh, almost no nations have given Rojava official recognition or political support. And Western governments have even treated these anti-Daesh fighters like criminals. That needs to change.
The fight against Daesh is not only military. It’s ideological, too. And as Enright says, everyone should get fully behind the battle against all forms of hate and extremism.
– Those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the 22 May terror attack can call this emergency number: 0800 096 0095.
– For more coverage of the attack, see here.
Featured image via ANF News/YouTube screenshot
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