Rooting for the Women Fighting ISIS in Syria

“Never again,” the world vowed in the middle of the last century. But here we are—again. Our ‘never’ is proving heartbreakingly finite.

In between our last vow and today, there was Bosnia, Rwanda, South Sudan, and others. But the plight of the Kurds, manifested in the struggle against ISIS over the Syrian city of Kobani, is different. When it came to Hutu and Tutsi, we wanted the slaughter to cease. But in Kobani, I want the Kalashnikov-wielding women, with hair cascading down their backs, smiling winningly at the camera showing the victory sign, to win. Rather, I want them to obliterate their enemy, the militant group known as ISIS, who have taken to calling themselves the Islamic State.

To me, none of this is about Islam at all. (When the KKK don their ghastly white costumes and hang crosses around their necks, we do not look for the sources of their barbarity in the lines of the New Testament. We, rightly, throw the book at them.) This is, for the most part, a new chapter in the war on women. That war disguises itself behind the mask of Islam to bully and silence Westerners and keep them at bay. The atrocities committed against women are explained as an exercise of rites and traditions.

Tablet Magazine, October 20, 2014