As Nice a Mosul Story As There Is, I Suppose


Image from The Guardian

Female peshmerga soldiers have no less love of home or bravery, and maybe more reason to loathe ISIS. 

It’s hard to find good stories in the fight for Mosul, which, even if it goes “well”, will lead to a vast humanitarian crisis and usher in a challenging new stage of Iraqi history. But female peshmerga soldiers is probably as close as it gets.

The peshmerga women were itching to get involved in a fight that was by now raging further down the road. “Yes of course I know how much they would hate getting killed by a woman,” said Lt Nivan Vechivan, 23, a Syrian Kurd from Qamishli, who had been fighting with the peshmerga for the past four years. “It would be my honour to kill them,” she said, as her soldiers, all in their early 20s, nodded in agreement.

A few thoughts.

  1. Please don’t take this as condescending, like “hey, look at the girls fight!” It isn’t surprising, or shocking, that human beings want to defend their homeland. They know bravery and sacrifice in a way I can’t even imagine.
  2. So, given that the Kurds are our biggest regional allies, maybe right-wing politicians can stop with the canard that women who want to be soldiers somehow weaken our military? If the Kurds, people who have always had to know war to defend themselves, don’t think that’s the case (and neither do the Israelis) maybe we can take a lesson?
  3. I know ISIS is progressive enough to let women act as suicide bombers, but given their penchant for rape and sex slavery, I’m guessing Lt. Nivan Vechivan is right about how they wouldn’t like being killed by a woman. That might mess up the twisted ideology of brave martyrdom (though I’m guessing, at the end of the day, most won’t like being killed at all).
  4. That said, when the “nice” story is more inspiring human beings rending less inspiring ones into mere flesh, there really isn’t much in the way of nice going on.

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