SBS Australia ran an interesting UK documentary titled, "Frontline Fighting: Battling Isis", describing it as "the inside story of three untrained western volunteers with no family connections to the Middle East who heed the call to take up arms with Kurdish fighters to reclaim Rojava from the Islamic State".
I recommend it for a few reasons. It is interesting that civilians from all over the world bypass their military, their political leaders and just go and fight for what they think is right. Unpaid. Unsupported. These men decided not to contribute by talking at home to influence politics, to raise funds or to try and educate people. One of them said to the effect of, "If you are not willing to do anything about it, then, I'll go and do something about it". To these men, they have given up on the power of influence through dialogue, discussion, politics or persuasion. With no prior experience in the military, let alone fighting battles, these men just went to the Middle East, took up arms and fight ISIS.
What does this mean for the future of wars, where the battle lines are not drawn within national boundaries? ISIS invites foreigners to fight for their ideology and their vision for the world, while on the other side, civilians no longer wait for their political and military leaders to do or authorise what they thing ought be done and sacrifice their lives in battlegrounds wherever they be.
It is striking that the group has many Muslim women fighting ISIS. I feel a sense of shame because in a war we all see as a threat to our way of life, with the background noise from our political leaders and commentators in the media of how we should and will fight ISIS, we are leaving it to Muslim women like the ones featured here to fight for us.
When there is terrorist attack in the "West", there is a minority who feel it justified to bash, verbally abuse or discriminate against Muslims in retaliation for the attacks. However, this film explicitly demonstrates what it is like on the ground, in the Middle East where Muslims having to live with the terror of ISIS, are fighting against what they also perceive as barbaric lunatics who bring shame to Islam.
Being conscious of the importance of keeping peace and order as well as the dangers of everyone being dragged into a bottomless pitt, I do not necessarily endorse the decisions made by these volunteer fighters as something we should all do. However, I cannot deny that understanding how they came to their decisions, and witnessing the lives of these men and women in the frontline of the battle against ISIS, is empowering. They remind us that despite how fearful we become and how frustrated we may feel to have an organised concerted solution with everyone else, we as individuals, have the liberty to act on our own and do something we feel ought to be done.