Michael Enright says he's willing to lose his life
Actor Michael Enright, who played a deckhand in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and had minor roles in other films, is now in Syria with Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State group.
The Guardian reports that the British actor appeared in a video released by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a key fighting force against ISIS in Syria. A video released by the YPG on Tuesday shows him in a military outfit shooting a Kalashnikov rifle from a trench. In the video, he calls for weapons and medical aid for the Kurdish fighters, describing them as “my havals,” which is Kurdish for "comrades."
The Christian Science Monitor has excerpts from an interview with Dubai-based station Al Aan TV, which was posted online last week. Enright spoke of his decision to go to Syria as part of a "call:"
"ISIS, they need to be wiped off, completely, the face of this earth," Enright said…. "They are a stain on humanity and this is a call. It’s not just a Kurdish call, this is a call to humanity to obliterate them."
Enright told Dubai-based Al-Aan TV, that his awareness of ISIS began when he learned that they had beheaded an American journalist. But the straw that broke the camel’s back occurred this past February when ISIS released a video showing a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive.
Enright is not the first foreigner who traveled to the Middle East to fight ISIS. Over the past two years, hundreds of foreigners, many of them with no prior combat experience, have joined the battle against ISIS. But as The Huffington Post reports, most of those traveling to fight in the region are on the other side.
The United Nations estimates that there are more than 25,000 "foreign terrorist fighters" from over 100 countries in the region fighting for ISIS or the Al-Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaeda franchise.
While ISIS is a unified group gathered around one ideology – building a Caliphate – those battling ISIS come from a variety of ideological backgrounds and are not necessarily in contact with one another.
American filmmaker Matthew VanDyke trains Iraqi Christians in military tactics. In March, The New York Times profiled Patrick Maxwell, a former US marine, who last fall joined Kurdish peshmerga forces in Iraq as one of "a small number of Americans" joining the fight against ISIS.
The Times cites a spokesman for the People’s Protection Units who said that more than 100 American citizens are currently fighting in Syria.
And last fall, the Dutch government gave its blessing to motorcycle gangs to travel to the region to battle the Islamic State.
While their motivations vary widely, many of those who travel to the region to fight ISIS say that they are appalled by the militant group’s atrocities, and are there to put an end to it.
Michael Enright says that he is ready to die for the cause:
“I didn’t come here to run. I came here to fight and if I have to die, then I die,” Enright told Al Aan TV. “I wrote all my friends and family cause I might not see them again. I told them I love them and I hope to see them again. We are in a war so I don’t know whether that would be in this life or in the next.”