Anna: The woman who went to fight ISIS

From BBC, [documentary airing 03 July 2019, 59 minutes - BBC @ 21:30]

In 2017, 25-year-old Anna Campbell from Lewes in East Sussex travelled in secret to Northern Syria. She was heading for Rojava, the Kurdish territory in the north of the country. In the midst of the civil war in Syria, a fledgling feminist democracy had been established but almost immediately came under threat from the so-called Islamic State. Just eight months after arriving and with no military background, Anna went to the front line to fight with Kurdish YPJ. A month later she was killed by a Turkish air strike.

With access to her diary and videos filmed while she was there, this film explores what motivated Anna to leave and how her family make sense of the tragic consequences.

Part of the award-winning This World strand.

(two teaser video clips @BBC website)

There are 51 Comments

Why don't Western leftists shoot at things in their own countries? At least the deaths would inspire?

The question is more : how an army leaded by authoritarian marxist-leninists, who's supreme leader is a man, with a very big moustache, who wrote a so-called "feminist theory" (because Ocalan is God right, he can decide what is good for women) is feminist ? Do people are aware that it's strictly forbidden for YPJ members to have intime relationships ? Yeah right, a "feminist revolution" where sex is forbidden ! To quote our dear Emma Goldman, and change a bit the sens "if I can't fuck and love it's not my revolution !"

And I don't talk about compulsory military service that ou dear kurdish marxist leninists imposed, on a territory where 80% of the population is not even Kurdish, because Rojava has a very tiny part of his territory wich is Kurdish, and in normal language what they do is called colonialism ... and I am sorry, but I find that strange to accept that the PKK decided to colonialize northern Syria, taking advantage of a civil war, because they are themselves occupied by other states. The YPD in Rojava has an army (YPJ/YPG), has cops, has jails (and we know how terrible is the situation of the prisoner camps, with even children in it, who die of bad nutrition).

No offense to Anna and other people who died there, but really, any anarchist who is able to think, and who knows a little bit the history of our ideas, would never EVER give their life for people who are no more than our enemies ... because nationalists and marxist leninists would always be the enemies of anarchists, no matter what leftists say about it. I don't care about leftists opinion, and I don't support militarization and states, and Rojava is trying to be like a state at an international level, no matter what they pretend.

If you are not aware, in some places in Europe there's groups representing the PKK in Rojava, calling themselves feminists, who do propaganda inside leftists and anarchist scenes. This people have no problem to talk about nation, people, and even more, to talk about the nature of men and women. And you know what ? Our anarchist and feminist cheerleaders are very happy with all this, and when you try to tell them how terrible it is to support such reactionary ideas, they told you "you don't understand, it doesn't mean the same for them". Right, the third world can be reacionary, because they are so inferior to us, is that what it means to accept they reactionary bullshit ? Do people try to know what is the situation of LGBT people inside the YPJ/YPG, or in general in Rojava (and I am talking only about syrians, not about tourists who can do what they want as white privileged occidentals). I am very curious about it ... and homosexuality and transexuality are universal concepts proved by anthropology (read some anthropology books if you are interested about it), as well as polyamory. So, if this "feminist revolution" doesn't take into account sexuality, in it diversity, we can say that it's a lie ... because there's no "feminist revolution" without sexual liberation, and women are not free until they can do what thay want, with who they want, with their body. Being a soldier is not a liberation, it's just the contrary ! And brainwashed teenage girls are not making a choice when they enter the YPJ, because to give them the choice would mean not to brainswash them in the first place.
I am not sure that people see positively children soldiers in Africa ... so why teenage soldiers in Syria are so different ? Because their Guru said that they are doing anarchist federalism ? Right, and Polpot was liberating his people ... Gurus always have very good intentions and want only the good of their people, of course !

For more cops, jails ans soldiers in Rojava ! Long live the Revolution, long live Ocalan ! For a feminist revolution with sex prohibition !

Don't forget the rape accusations about Ocalan.

Yeah, right... very funny linking Yeni Safak here. It's the fucking mouthpiece of Erdogan's party, duh. Rape allegations come in handy when we got nothing better to throw at someone.

"Yes, but other westerners are fighting the patriarchy in Rojava and it takes time."
Yeahh, for a joke, it's a good one ! I am wondering what do think feminists from Syria (and I talk about syrian feminists, not PKK puppets) about all this crap ... because before the PKK decided to take advantage of the civil war, there were feminists in Syria, women who sometimes gave their lifes for it, because in 2011 not only people wanted to get rid of the dictatorship, but also of all the stupid traditions and "sects" (communities) and wich women were prisoners ... they wanted to be in love with who they want, to do what they want with their body, to do whatever activity they want ... they went to the streets, they fought, they got arrested, raped in jail, sometimes they died in it. All this happened before 2013, the moment the PKK decided that this civil war was a wonderful opportunity to take some territories and exercice power on it, pretending they were fighting for everyone ...

What I don't understand is, how anarchists saw something interesting in what the PKK was doing, and ignored the uprising of 2011 and all what happened since then ?? Are people stupid or ignorant, or they consciently support authoritarians ?

"What I don't understand is, how anarchists saw something interesting in what the PKK was doing, and ignored the uprising of 2011 and all what happened since then"

Oh, it was a mix of things - not the least of which being the fact that the Kurdish struggle had a new coat of paint and looked much shinier when anarchists found it. This was in no small part thanks to the propaganda efforts both sincere and calculating of its partisans which ranged from glowing reports from visitors to the region (Graeber had nothing but good things to say about it after his official tour, including praise for its prisons) to the promotion of death cults around Western martyrs for the cause by solidarity websites and Kurdish news outlets thirsty to drum up more young blood to help fight for the cause. All of this was filtered through news outlets like IGD and even here.

It was especially exciting because everyone could get a piece - boring reds got municipal libertarianism and collective farms, anti-civ anarchists got exciting reports about solidarity volunteers attacking ISIS proclaiming how they were attacking Leviathan. If anything reds were less gung-ho about the whole thing given their suspicion of cross-class alliances under the cloak of nationalism, and some of the best critical pieces on Rojava actually ended up on

Why did anarchists ignore the initial uprising? By the time they started paying attention it had too many men with beards for their taste, and because their news was coming largely through the lens of PKK solidarity it was all poisoned by the specters of Islamic fundamentalism and Turkish support. The fight against Assad wasn't sexy, it didn't have enough women in fatigues with guns flaunted cynically before the eyes of a Western audience, and importantly it wasn't the fight the Kurds were fighting. While there has been some effort to correct this - the Tower has published a few pieces by Omar Azziz (one of which also made the rounds on IGD and here but subsumed within the torrent of Rojava) - sadly, anarchist understanding of what was happening in Syria will amount to sorting through ashes of that more vibrant time rather than taking an active part.

Rojava may be a good topic for a future Anarchybang. People could ask questions live on IRC and via phone. Getting someone who is both knowledgeable and impartial enough to explain the situation may not be easy though. Any time I have attended a talk on the situation ends up sounding like a cult.
One thing I would like to know is how they expect to survive without the patronage or support of another state.

Oh just face it, like everything political that has EVER HAPPENED in that region and for a 1000 mile radius, its been coopted by big OIL CAPITALISM, and you can inject as much utopianist idealism and humanitariam schtick as you like into CAUSES, but when it comes down to the crunch, its about money and power. The greatest irony of all, was that the only true non-oil influenced political force to contest the area in the last 120 years were ISIS, MWUHAHAHAHAAAA YOU RIGHTEOUS FOOLS, you are no different to them when it comes to holier than thou moralism and ethics.

Compares Kurd socialists to a bunch of Salafist religious fanatics who rape and butcher women and sell kids to pedo hotels...

Yes, shut the fuck up, ignoramus manchild. And YES, ISIS had everything to do with oil. Your "Anti-imperialist freedom fighters" ran an oil route from Iraq passing through Raqqa and Afrin, and its collapse due to their defeat by YPG/SDF is the precise reason behind the Turkish invasion led by authoritarian manchilds not unlike you.

No, oil just HAPPENED to be one of the assets won, like an expendable trophy of war, to be utilized, but it WASN'T the motive for their war. THATS what Im getting at, the prime motive was driven by a political-religious quest.
Its like the Japanese/Chinese war in 1930s, raping all the women in Nankin WASN'T the motive for the war.
Damn emotional manbrats with ideals!

i’m another anon, but i watched once. p bleak stuff, speaking of bleak stuff on that other thread.
only takeaway i got was “convoluted entangled plots of domination unleash byproducts of carnage in unforeseeable directions”

^ the definitive anarchist summary of history, fer sure

I only just got time to watch it, I'm about 30minutes into it, but have stuff to do, and will return to it. Pity about the sound and quality, but yes, it confirms my theory concerning Isis not being influenced by oil, which was just a spoil of war.

Cute. You seem really humble and reasonable while confirming your foregone conclusions without the new info.
Here's a spoiler, which you deserve at this point.

Curtis argues that the house of Saud is primarily responsible for the spread of Wahhabism throughout the arab world, without which, there likely wouldn't be an ISIS as we know it today. Therefore, oil money and power would be the cause, not the effect.

That would put the chain of events many decades further back than what you're talking about. The entire colonial project around the house of Saud is an ideological watershed for the majority of bloodthirsty reactionary politics in the region, which drags the british in to this as much as the americans and basically the rest of NATO too, by the way. Easy enough to extrapolate all of this in to a typical military-industrial-complex-created-ISIS narrative, which is where I'd bet my money, if I had any, or cared.

Anyway, it's Curtis' theory, not mine but he's bleakly convincing as usual. Also, why you gotta throw shade at BBC broadcast quality? Sorry it's not a Michael Bay production ya fuckin douchebag.

I think they're referring to that truly terrible 144p link. Unfortunately it looks like that's the only full version available for streaming. Found a watchable version on the pirate bay though.


I am the other OP anon who watched 30min of the horrible link that SOT offered, THANKYOU for introducing YOUR beautiful link, which has excellent clarity and sound, and made the remainder of the doco bearable.

I watched the rest of it, with great difficulty and patience,,,,this theory of Curtis's is religious history reductionism, Wahhabism IS NOT the sole inspirational radical doctrine in the Islamic school of thought, radicalism is an individual potentiality in any of the myriad sects and groups of devòtees who declare jihad upon the infidel. Is Curtis some Yale educated historian steeped in Rooseveltian economic power politics who has absentmindedly forgotten about the 2 previous imperialist invasions of Afghanistan and Iran in the 19th Century. Duh, shall we go back to Alexander the Great, when the Mogul suicide squads were equally fanatic for their religious beliefs charging their battle elephants against hopeless odds?
Its just one greedy royal family accumulating alot of power and weaponry independent of ISIS.
He hasn't even entered the Shia and Sunni historical conflict, ITS SOOO FUCKING COMPLEX, WHAT ABOUT THE CRAZY AFGHAN JUÑKIE GANGS, its the global centre of heroin production, why does he skip this fact, and make it solely an Wahhabismic conspiracy?

These crazy junkies are doing psycho shit in my neighborhood for just ONE hit, I mean, these guys would do kamikaze skateboard attacks on the local drugstore for just a packet of codeine suppositories.
All those gangs who overthrew Gaddafi were high on ice, its crazy, drug politics!

"Wahhabism IS NOT the sole inspirational radical doctrine in the Islamic school of thought.."

Nobody said that. I can lead a horse to water but apparently it'll just stare in to the water and talk stupid gibberish to itself like it always does.

don’t erode yourself on these boulders.
if you brought them to the river by mistake, let them sink, and rest! rest!

Are you raking your zen garden? That's … not how I view this place at all. More like an old bus stop? Anyway, point taken.

: ) my “zen” (i don’t call it that, but i could see the resemblance) garden is made up of rocks and moss, and some orchids. i just have to pluck out the grass that tries to grow and overtake it, no raking required. i know you’re just joking around ; P

this place does resemble a bus stop in a worn down part of town where the buses are always late, but the driver let’s people get in without paying fare, and there’s always some crazy person arguing with themselves out loud or with some imaginary person

right?! haha

Its easy sounding smart by linking all your comments to docos, but Bitter Lake is made by someone who seems to have an attention deficit disorder, can't hold a camera still, and thinks editing is turning off the camera. It just conflated my simple oil capitalist scenario.

i agree with your observations on that documentary, implications on your arguments aside, and my garden is not plastic, pls shit on the compost pile next time

you know what would help you sound smart? the wikipedia page where you could learn in 10 seconds that Curtis uses BBC archive footage to make his films.

"Curtis uses BBC archive footage to make his films"
Juxtaposition and montage are not intelligent and creative acts in themselves -- Neo anartist

juxtaposition and montage are fine.
it’s okay if you don’t like a particular technique applied in film, or film as a medium.
i was aware of the use of footage.
the footage in itself, as well as the juxtaposition was unsettling and disorienting on purpose.

I don't think there was purpose, it was lazyass effort put into the creative process. Just the opening scene of the bloodieď camera and casualties at a roadside bomb, then these jumps between 1930s, 1952, 1956, 1965, 1978, 1995, 2006, 2013, with domestic film and industrial newsreel, then that wierd insert of British comedy, Up the Khyber, inferring Cockney slang, Khyber Pass meaning ass, which was sorta funny because Northern India and British politics REALLY had a sway upon trans Afghan commerce and wealth in the 19th century colonialist era.
But all in all a SHODDY doco which I would have done a better job at if I had the resources to do so! My doco would have been poetically and satirically brilliant!

i'm highly skeptical, but at the same time lowkey excited at the prospect of your competing documentary

We do not lead our Arab stallions and mares to water, we engineer a billion dollat pipeline to bring desalinated water to the royal stables. Thankyou America.

Curtis is somewhat right on a few things. I think his critical analysis is a must even if not always accurate, or exhaustive.

In this doc for instance, he yet again pulled off the big bogeyman of US imperialism, while overlooking the fact there was also a more shadowy third party -namely the post-war Nazi covert organization- that was deeply into backing Islamist fascist movements. This part of the second half of the 20th century still has major dark areas filled with significant content. This agency had lotsa capital, arms, and boots on the ground.

I don't think "Islamist fascist " is an accurate terminology, here I go again, Islam and Western political theory do not intersect.
Is this another wacky conspiratorial theory? I'm in on the Christian fundamentalist Texan theory pouring money into the region though.

What I'm trying to say is, sure, some fascists may have poured money and arms into Islamist organizations, but the Islamists themselves weren't fascists, that's all. The Christian Westeŕn oil corporations accoùnt for the bulk of it, some Russian and British also.

Instead of a mere cult of the Ethno-State, it is rather a cult of a Nation embodied by God itself. The Deep South Xian fanatics (who're not so Xian actually) are very close to this mindset, yet the ultra-conservative discipline and moral code of Islamists is a notch higher into this insanity, and its "naturalized" in the way that it is institutionalized through a stiff, clean-cut culture.

You should be reading into the Neonazi Albert Huber, as he was the most obvious crux between Nazism and Islam. He saw Islamism as superior to Nazism in how it disembodies the Nation State toward giving it a higher, spiritual character in the theocracy.

Thanks, that has explained the relationship between religious and political fascism for me, the melding together of the nation and god into one entity of authority.

Also the jihadists have shown for decades how Islamism matches with the brutal discipline of Nazis and Axis Japanese fascists, but even goes further. It's not as much about serving and dying for the Fuhrer as it is to be a servant of God. If you understand faith, you'll know how a faith in God can bring people way further than through a faith in the nation/race.

ah these kurds pkk pulling the good old bait and switch on leftists

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