First, a Symbol of Occupy Wall Street. Then He Waded Into Syria.

  • Posted on: 13 July 2017
  • By: thecollective

From The New York Times

By MEGAN SPECIA
JULY 12, 2017

Robert Grodt was a volunteer medic at the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, when he pulled Kaylee Dedrick, who had just been pepper-sprayed in the face, out of the crowd to treat her.

The pair quickly hit it off, and when video of Ms. Dedrick being sprayed in the face captured the world’s attention, the spotlight turned to their budding romance. They again garnered media attention the next year, when they had a daughter — quickly nicknamed “Occubaby” — because she was conceived in the protest camp in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park where the pair had been camped out.

But then he made a dangerous decision that few young Westerners have made — joining a Kurdish militia fighting in the Syrian War.

On Monday, Kurdish fighters announced that Mr. Grodt died on the outskirts of Raqqa, Syria.


Photo




Robert Grodt, who died fighting with Kurdish forces in Syria, with Kaylee Dedrick and their daughter, Teagan. The couple met during an Occupy Wall Street protest.

Credit
Photo provided by Tammy Grodt


Mr. Grodt, 28, had no military training and no previous connection to Syria. But he found himself on the front line of one of the most dangerous conflicts in the world.

“Rob felt strongly enough that he was willing to risk and ultimately give his life,” said Ronald L. Kuby, a civil rights lawyer who met Mr. Grodt and Ms. Dedrick at the Occupy protest. “It was a powerful vision.”

Mr. Grodt’s family was told of his death by the State Department on Friday, said his mother, Tammy Grodt, but has few details on the circumstances of his death.

What they do have are two videos featuring Mr. Grodt and posted by the Kurdish militia he joined, the People’s Protection Units, known as Y.P.G. One clip posted in June details his rationale for joining the group; the second was released on Tuesday when the Y.P.G. announced he had been killed.

In the video, Mr. Grodt says he joined the militia because he was committed to the Kurdish independence movement. Kurds, members of a stateless ethnic group, have been fighting for autonomy in the region for decades.

“My reason for joining the Y.P.G. was to help the Kurdish people in their struggle for autonomy,” Mr. Grodt says. He also says he wants to fight ISIS.

The Y.P.G. has become a major player in the Syrian conflict, making up the bulk of coalition ground forces fighting the Islamic State in parts of the country. Although the coalition is backed by the United States, many of the Y.P.G. leaders have roots in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which is on the State Department’s list of foreign terror organizations.

The coalition has pushed closer to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in recent weeks, trying to wrest the city from the extremist group.

Mr. Grodt’s mother said she saw her son’s decision to join the militia as an extension of a life spent fighting for what he saw as a noble cause, and a penchant for fighting for the oppressed.

She remembered when he told her that he was hitchhiking across the United States from his home in California to join the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York.

“It was hard to let him go,” she said. “I wasn’t against it but I did tell him, ‘You are a braver, more adventurous person than I am.’ He was a medic for the movement, so it was not just to be there to cause upset. He was there for the solutions.”


Photo




A still from a video shared on social media shows Ms. Dedrick after being pepper sprayed by a New York City police officer at an Occupy Wall Street protest in September 2011.

She said that in Syria, he hoped to be part of reconstruction of areas destroyed during battle, and he wanted to raise awareness for the Kurdish cause.

Mr. Grodt’s sister, Meghann Conforti, said he had explained to her that he would be on the front line, information he initially kept from his mother.

After Mr. Grodt left the United States, he kept in sporadic contact with his family over Facebook and Skype, and he often spoke with Ms. Dedrick and their daughter.

On the same day that it announced Mr. Grodt’s death, the Y.P.G. announced the death of two other foreign fighters: Nicholas Alan Warden, an American, and a British citizen, Luke Rutter.

Mrs. Grodt said she last spoke to her son in May. The recent intensifying of fighting in the region had made it harder for him to get in touch, she said.

The clip offers a final message to his family.

“Just know that I love you all, and there is a lot that goes unsaid,” Mr. Grodt says, before directly addressing his 4-year-old, Teagan. “To my daughter, I am sorry that I am not there.”

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Comments

RIP comrade!

Such a waste. Im sorry but Its true.

You're a waste. Sad.

Nothing more or less to say.

It must feel good, dying a patriot to American interests. Kurds are the next Israel and Lebanon. Nice little pockets of pro-Western sentiment versus the Sunny and Shit domination.

Yeah hmm.. like... so sad to see the domination those despotic Islamic fascist regimes eroding in the favor of progressive democracies. Kinda like dem liburulls who're now ackowledging the Saudi regime's support to our brave Islamic warriors. Crocodile tears for the Muslim Brotherhood and Erdogun...

lol Ive never understood people who want to preserve Syria as we know it today. Syria as we know it today is a creation of europeans, the french.

Its borders were drawn by europeans creating spheres of influence. Its state was created by europeans. The kurds were put into syria's borders by europeans. The kurds have been fighting since before the US came to the area. The kurds would be fighting regardless and so would the Americans. The Americans would be there regardless of if the kurds took a skeptically coordinated with the US. Its easy to sit at home and have the tankie-moralist argument that "they're takiing advantage of the US govt to achieve their goals how imperialist."

Its an alliance of convenience saying they should not use the US to their advantage is saying more of them should die.

'He died living his interest'. He was killed. And his daughter had a daddy! Did his daughter have a say in his decision? Yes, his daughter will have to live with a fucking huge loss and for what? For daddy's ego? Why have a baby then voluntary go to the front-line? His first responsibility has to be his child? Similarly, there are those parents of very young children who, once having had their own desire to have a child, return to climbing mountains, in some cases dying on the mountain, or they return to whatever activity, boxing for example. These parents don't need the money etc. Anarchy is freedom with responsibility. His death is probably an unnecessary 'machismo' death. My heart goes out to mother and daughter. Daddy was/is a hero!!! No, he was a selfish father.

Nothing more nothing less, this alien responsibility to children is a big part of hierarchical dominance as far as I'm concerned. While I or you would not have done what he did his interests are his interests.

So, are you saying you would a child because of you having that interest and then leave that child in order to pursue another of your own interests? Just leave your interest for others to raise or would you not care if others idly carried on with their own interests and left your previous interest (aka your child) to die?

Of course sir engine would abandon their kid.

But that point is irrelevant to what they're actually saying. Obligations are authority. Saying someone who brings a kid into the world should care for them is the same as being a cop or the state because authority doesnt come from institutional power, but from implying that people should do something.

but also as we're having this discussion on here people lost a father, a partner, a friend, their child, and so on. S

"Accepting responsibility for a child is the same as being a cop" ... I already knew ziggy is a halfwit. Apparently you two deserve each other.

Actually, I did. Still think that's a contemptible position but it doesn't really matter because discussion with you is always 99% pointless and worse when the topic is anything to do with children.

The fact that responsibility for children should not come at the expense of personal aspirations? As regards to children, I simply understand what an anarchic world would entail unlike you who hold onto the custodial mores of the civilizeds.

I didn't even read anything but this post and I got to say, dude, seriously? Again with the fantasies? Why? It is nice to have these illusions that people are robots that actually *want* to destroy all the spooks. Where is the proof? Why do you think this is possible in anyway? #sickofyourchildrapefantasiesbutnotgoingtomentionitinmycommentbecauseimbiggerthanthat

You don't believe or entertain them. I can't control other peoples belief and behavior. Anarchy is not contingent on them.

Shouldn't we be using Wolfi's translation of 'phantasm' in place of 'spooks' now?

When I think of phantasm I think of Batman's old girlfriend in 'Mask Of The Phantasm'

"This alien responsibility to children." WTF! You have a child, yes YOU have a child and then YOU claim YOUR responsibility for YOUR baby is alien???

Hi there, you're interacting with ziggy right now. Don't expect much from the exchange, his views about children especially.

Is not negating the need for child responsibility as such. Obviously if we are talking about the first 10 years or so then yes there are corporeal responsibilities. What I am talking about are the people who have this idea of responsibility that gets in the way of desire and self interest. The problem with contemporary parents is that they don't know how to be selfish to themselves and let the kid(s) take care of themselves. There's also the people who go after those who commit suicide for not thinking about their children(Kurt Cobain for example).

One of my gangster friends had a father that was a gangster that didn't give a shit about him. His mom was always telling him he was going to end up like his father. He didn't. His father is still alive. His son, shot himself in the face to avoid jail as SWAT was at the door. I don't think treating your child as alien makes sense. It is language you are fighting and not actual people and relationships.

You are a slave to logical ends, when those ends are created by a language that is flawed. Doesn't emile say this all the time? It is symbolic thought and by *trying* to *imagine* a world without spooks, you have engaged in a logical game of narrating what freedom looks like. Just as any other person, there is teleological elements to your vision that clearly have disturbed people. It isn't the lack of teleology, but rather the implication of it, that offends people. You see a world of child molesters when others don't. You see this because you *are* a child molester.

We've made our point about the gray area and how the anarchist position is about how this gray area is subjective. It never leaves humanity, even if the logic does. I say this not as a teacher of human nature, there is none. However, your "alien" speech points out an obvious flaw in your logic: People don't treat their children like they are alien most of the time. You do have plenty of exceptions for a point, but your point ignores the rule:

People *don't* have sex with their children and *don't* encourage or condone adult/child relationships abstractly. It isn't because they secretly want to allow some adult on child sex action, but because they reject it, but are willing to make exceptions that break the rule. You can be a child molesting rebel and make it sound cool, but it is still your dance in symbolic thought, your human brain making up a story to prove not only are such things possible, which we all are aware of, but that you favor this behavior and you defend it from that position.

Frankly, we, not to speak for everyone but still, we are sick of your constant uncritical understanding of reality, your trap in the basement with no friends. By now I'm guessing your like Herbert from Family Guy, some old creep that has a creepy dog and sniffs children's underwear. Just drop the act or accept your own death by your hand for scumbaggery. By drop the act, I'm saying that you *have a theory* and its failing is in not considering that there is more going on than abstract ego drives. That the ego actually *rarely* guides the individual and most time, the individual is guided by other things, like their stomach or the urge to get through the day without a bunch of bullshit.

So anyways, please, please, just stop it already. We are all on board the you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do bus, but seriously. Stop it.

I'm not saying a child is something you treat lightly, I'm simply going after civilized responsibilities and self sacrificing parents.

Again you repeat the old canard that anyone who is against the pedophilia prohibition is for sanctioned pedophilia(I'm not). You are to morally tunnel visioned to understand this. It's one thing to have preferences, it's another thing to want to be a normative enforcer of these mere preferences.

A "canard" … right. No fire under this smoke, nothing to see here folks! Just ziggy on his little soapbox about how prohibiting pedophilia doesn't line up with his egoist values …. IN A MEMORIAL THREAD FOR A DEAD COMRADE.

Is anyone still confused about why a lot of us hate this guy? Are we still being too harsh? Hmm?

I'm the one who's defending his choice in the context of having a child. It's you lot that trudge up the other stuff.

I made my point and you did nothing to refute it. You just went along as you usually do, justifying pedophilia and acting like you aren't. We've covered this already about gray areas, yet you continue. You do what you can to look like a creep and then you backpedal until you get the opportunity to do it again. That isn't provocative thinking, that is just being a creepy loser. You aren't winning a rebellion. You are defending child rapists. Things aren't always abstract and this is your other problem: You live in imagination land. If you'd actually interact with real people (and real kids, hopefully when their parents are around) you'd find that the ego isn't some sort of freedom thing, it is a bunch of stories we tell ourselves. You feel you are justified in raping small children, yet if you tried to rape small children, plenty of people are there to stop you, so you don't. But then, when a child is by themselves and you creep up on them asking about their parents, if they like candy and if they want to take a ride in your sweet van with a bed in the back, you may hope they'd be all about it. But you are lying to yourself. They don't want any of your candy and they don't want to take a ride in your van. Maybe you'll cruise around, maybe you'll find some exception somewhere, where the child has been turning tricks since they were 4 and smoke two packs a day, but these instances don't prove the rule, they only prove there are exceptions to rules and these exceptions aren't necessarily a result of great life decisions. So why are you still on about this when we've cover this?

Didn't you. Anyway I don't think you know what justification means in this context.

There he goes again with the last word. No, you don't know what justification means in any context.

I second that.

Also. His life, his choice what to do with it. Parents are not somehow somehow required to abstain from fighting for what they believe in. You may not feel like his cause was worthy, but it sounds like he was trying to live his ideals, which is more than you will ever be able to say.

But seriously, I hope you say the same idiotic stuff in real life as you do on the internet. You wouldn't last long.

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