From the comfort of our homes here in America, talk is cheap, and it’s easy to say what actions need to be done toÂ defeat ISIS, or to discuss how we’d like to take up arms and rid the world of these vile pieces of degenerate filth. But for one man named Jeremiah, his conviction to rid the worldÂ ISIS was so intense, that he decided to completely forsake his life and career back home inÂ America, to join the fight alongside the Kurdish people ofÂ Rojava, Kurdistan.
I was first introduced to Jeremiah through a mutual Facebook friend, and I knew from the beginning that JeremiahÂ had an amazing story to share with the rest of us here in America. Shortly after chatting with Jeremiah, I convinced himÂ to let me set up a Facebook “fan page”Â soÂ he could give us all updates whenever he had cell-phone coverage. Almost overnight, his page grew, and within just a few weeks, over 2,000 people were anxiously commenting and awaiting news from “hotel infidel,” the war-torn buildingÂ which he currently calls his home.
I took some time to ask Jeremiah some questions about his quest,Â and what he hopes to accomplish while he fights along side the people threatened with extinction by the Islamic State.
*At the end of this article is information on how you can help fund Jeremiah on his mission to rid the world of ISIS.
What inspired you to leave America and fight ISIS?
“The ‘seed’ was planted one morning while watching a short news clip of the tragedy that was happening at Mount Sinjar (or Shangel). The Yazidi Kurds that were being nothing short of massacred and enslaved by ISIS. Their women and girls being taken as sex slaves…..it all sickened me.
Seeing the few photos of the refugees fleeing to the mountain and learning that they were surrounded by ISIS, cut off from the outside except by helicopter…..it all played on my heart. I remember thinking, while still warm in my bed having coffee, that I wish there was something I could do.
That was just the seed. It only grew from there, as my life and all that was in it began to crumble due to some very poor choices, my regrettable actions, and the consequences thereof.Â In short, I came to a point where everything was stripped away from me…little by little….as a ‘voice’ so to speak, grew louder and louder….Something…..SOMEONE…. called to me.”
Tell me a little about the group you are fighting with, and what you all hope to accomplish.
“The group I hooked up with, is called ‘The Lions of Rojava.’Â They are the recruitment for foreign fighters for the YPG (People’s Protection Unit) for Rojava, Kurdistan…I ended up making contact with them, and found out some information. At first just offering words of support and encouragement; becoming ‘friends’ on Facebook.This only served to put water on the seed that was taking root; growing.
The YPG was the main force that I was aware of at the time, fighting, and more importantly, defeating, or pushing ISIS (Deash) back.Â There are other forces as I’ve come to learn on other fronts doing their part. I have nothing less than the utmost level of respect for all forces that are engaged in this fight against nothing less than PURE EVIL.
I feel I must make this clear as there are many different peoples and religions engaged in this conflict against this common enemy of ALL, that will indeed spread like a wildfire to all parts of the globe if left to burn.Â PURE EVIL.Â Aside from that, there is the Civil War that has been taking place in Syria since approximately 2011, of which, I was mostly unaware.Â Many, if not all Kurds want a separate Kurdish state; Kurdistan.Â The area known as Kurdistan, is a geographic area that crosses the borders of four different countries; Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
It’s a highly complicated issue in the socio-political sense, among other things.Â Right here, right now, ISIS (Daesh) is the main objective for most involved. But there are are countries such as Turkey, a NATO ally, that provide support in various forms and fashions to ISIS; using them as a proxy army to commit atrocities for them…..or, so it wouldÂ appear.Â It’s complicated.Â A bunch of ‘smoke and mirrors’…..hard to wrap ones head around. I am just seeing some of the many facets of this thing.”
What are the Kurds’ reaction to having American forces fighting with them?
“I think, for the most part, they VERY much appreciate ALL those that have answered the call and left their homes, jobs, lives, families and loved ones, to assist them here with this plague, wherever they are from.There isÂ a level of respect for this sacrifice alone. Most, I think, like us being here. I think some, rightfully so, think we could or should be doing more. With some, you can see this in there eyes…. To these, I wish to say, ‘I am sorry.'”
Do they eye you with suspicion at first?
“I think they look at everyone from the west with a bit of skepticism and are perhaps a bit hesitant to trust at first. Rightfully so, in my opinion. I think that’s probably in their nature to a degree and a matter of necessity here as I think there have been many that have let them down in some fashion, both recently, as well as throughout the years. In short, a person IS going to have to ‘prove’ themselves, and that takes time; it does NOT happen over night.
I commend any and all that given up the life they know at ‘home’ to come here to try to help….I do….however, I think some folks paint a picture of what they’ll be ‘doing ‘ when they do get here that is not quite within the realm on reality. I think this leads to a lot of discontent and heartache for some….and it spreads….adding to the difficulties that already exist and must be overcome on a daily basis. Just living for example.”
How has your integration been?
“The toughest obstacle, in my opinion, is the language barrier. Seconded by cultural differences that just take some getting used to. I recently asked for a Kurmanji download, ‘matrix’ style, to help overcome this. Even with the language barrier, strong relationships can be, and ARE formed. It makes intigration difficult perhaps at times, due to this, as well as other issues, but not impossible. Not by any means.”
What obstacles have you had to overcome in order to become cohesive with your unit, and the Kurds?
“Unit cohesion is very difficult to attain in my opinion and is ‘just now ‘ beginning to take place in my unit, I think. There is a constant shuffle of people; some coming, some going. Some that think things should be run this way or that. It’s difficult at best to throw a group of guys together and have them operate with any level of proficiency either socially or militarily in my opinion.
Especially if some amongst the group had never served in a military organization and had that ‘basic’ training. It is all VERY challenging as there is no real recourse should someone decide ‘they don’t wanna…’ or ask ‘why?’ when told to do something such as ‘take a knee’ and ‘post up’ when a movement comes to a halt… the ‘just do it’ part of the equation is not grasped by some thus adding, yet again to the level of difficulty.”
You mentioned before that being over there is a form of atonement. How has your relationship with God changed since you’ve been in the middle east?
“My relationship with God changed immensely in the months prior to coming here and has been strengthened exponentially since. There are many instances which seem, at least to me, to defy the realm of mathematics when thought of as a ratio between possibility versus probability.
So much so, that I would think, in some instances, I’d have better odds of winning the power ball a thousand times in a row than to think of some of the occurrences that have taken place. To me, this is nothing short of the hand of God at work, visibly In my life.Â This happens on an almost daily basis either in answer to prayer or need as it arises and usually just makes me smile when this occurs.
Having to look to Him to provide….and he does.Â My faith has been strengthened a thousand times.”
What does your family back home think of what you are doing?
“I haven’t spoken to my parents since prior to my departure. We had a bit of a falling out, again, due to some poor choices on my part.Â I informed them that I was headed to the ‘middle east’ as I was seated on my JFK to Sulaymaniyah leg.
They did wish me a Happy Birthday the other day. That was nice of them. Hopefully, well be able to talk (text) a bit more as time passes and make amends where needed. .I kind of think that they probably think I’m nuts ( and I am) and or just don’t understand…..probably both.
I have the support and encouragement from all I’m sure, even if not spoken, but, most notably with and from extended family. I would hope that this would change with time, even if my reasons are never understood.”
Are you attacked a lot? How dangerous is your location?
“I am on a frontline position. ThereÂ is little doubt that we are holding the line.Â We receive intermittent mortar fire not quite daily perhaps as well as ‘dushka’ fire from both 12.5mm as well as 23mm anti-aircraft guns on our positions throughout the line. Usually in the morning and/or the evening; but it can come at any time.
Just prior to my arriving at my unit, the village had just recently been taken from Daesh, and there were some suicide bombers shot as they crossed onto the berm of one of the positions.
I have also gone on ‘nature walks’ looking for suspected Daesh that have been spotted at locations between emplacements …crossing the river in the night. Recently we have seen an increase of acitvity on their part all around. They are out there.Â We will provably see more of them….real close and probably soon….I hope I am wrong about this.”
You mentioned that the media does not really paint an accurate picture of the things going on over there. What would you like for America to know?
“I honestly don’t know what the mainstream media says or doesn’t anymore as I started tuning them out prior to my coming here…. I think the whole thing is largely ‘backburnered’ as ‘its not our problem.’Â At least, I think that is the mentality that a lot of people may have. In part, due to the lack of exposure. I think its a monster that feeds on itself whike selling beer and cars in the add space in between the supposed real stories that are reported on.”
What type of support do you all need?
“We need EVERYTHING…..medical supplies, food, weapons, optics, ammunition, training, clothing, supply and logistics support, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, not for a minute, as these people are to to be commended for their level of resolve, their dedication, their resilience, and determination to drive the EVIL out….and have done a remarkable job at doing as such, with very limited resources and little support from the international community and at a large and tragic loss of life as one of the costs that have been, and will continue to be as this war progresses if more is not done to help. A big part of this has to do with the fact that they are not recognized as a ‘nation state,’ and therefore, are not able to purchase some of these things legally on open markets. While some nation states by all appearances, provide all this to the ones that breed hatred and want nothing less than destruction for us ALL… It us a very sad thing to see play out in front of you.”
What’s a typical day like for you?
“We usually begin our ‘day’ as our nights activities end. Whether that be a ‘patrol’ to another location, supplementing manpower at various other positions on the line, or just ending the guard at our location.
Breakfast is usually prepared for the bunch by one or two of the guys usually consisting of olives, tomatoes, some cheese, Nan (bread), and perhaps some marmalade, followed by tea, or chai, as its called here.
There is always a pot of water as well as chai on the ready, or one in reserve just waiting for a visitor, which is the custom here.
There is always something to do at our camp to maintain a level of cleanliness as well as repairs and or improvements to things, or scavenging for items in the bombed out buildings in our village that may be of some use. This usually happens before the heat of the day when its just too damn hot to do anything.
Guys will clean their weapons as needed during the day. Check and re pack their ‘kits’, discuss tactics, movements and other observations concerning the enemy, talk of things from home; their former jobs, bosses, friends, their ladies that wait for them, their kids, their families…etc. While doing many of these things.
For those that are able, a nap is usually had. For those of us with insomnia and other sleep related issues, this is not possible so we find something to do while allowing the others to rack out for a bit.
There is laundry to do or bathing, as water permits, usually about once a week for myself with about eight to ten gallons of water taking care of the needs for both laundry as well as ‘bathing.’ This is rotated amongst the fellas based on need and again, supply.
Unloading of the supplies that are brought to our location is another of the tasks that we deal with. Sometimes this is a quick job with one person being able to take care of this task with only an armload of goods delivered as there are always shortages in either food and/or especially bottled water. In many cases, we have water on the fire to boil and cool for consumption that comes from the tank that holds water for cleaning.
Food for lunch and dinner are usually prepared and ready for consumption at around noon and five o’clock respectively.
There is VERY little meat in our diet. Very little…..with our meals consisting of pasta or rice, vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, egg plant, and onions that are often made into a sauce.
We received a chicken about two weeks ago that was made into a ‘stew’ and enjoyed by twelve men. That was a good meal and very much appreciated as the last ‘meat’ we’d had prior to this was approximately three weeks before, that being mechanically separated chicken pieces, formed and in the can….even these have become a delicacy.
As the evening approaches, its time to make ‘ready’ for whatever activity it is that we will engage in such as the ones that I described in the beginning of this description.
It’s tough….very tough. Not all can adapt. There are many and varying challenges that must be faced and dealt with every day ‘just’ to live It’s a harsh environment to say the least.”
What an incredible story! If you would like to follow Jeremiah on Facebook, you can do so here. Since so many people have asked how they can help, a GoFundMe campaign has been established in order to raise money for the supplies that he and his unit so desperately needs. You can donate to Jeremiah at this link.Â Jeremiah anxiously awaits at an undisclosed location in Iraq, so that supplies can be purchased from the donationsÂ raised through his GoFundMe campaign.
If you have any questions about the campaign, or would like to personally help organize, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.