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Beautiful and deadly — what a combination!
A young Danish woman left her home in Copenhagen for one year to do something quite remarkable — to take on both the Islamic State and President Bashar al-Assad’s goons in Syria.
And how do the two compare? The Islamic terrorists are “very easy to kill” as compared to Assad’s “specialist killing machines.”
Joanna Palani was just 22 when she joined the some 750 European women who have taken up arms against terrorists in the Middle East. Only a few have managed to return home safe and sound — Palani is one of them.
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) May 27, 2016
She traded her carbine and grenades in for books on politics and philosophy, according to Broadly, which recently interviewed her.
Palani had a special reason for leaving the safety of Denmark to fight alongside the Kurds — she’s one herself. Broadly reported:
Palani, the daughter and grand-daughter of Peshmerga fighters, is an Iranian Kurd who was born in a UN refugee camp in Ramadi, Iraq in 1993, after the family were forced to flee their home during the Gulf War. They moved to Copenhagen when she was a toddler. She lived a “normal, comfortable life” with her family. Her favorite hobbies growing up were reading and target practice; after firing her first live rifle in Finland aged nine, she got obsessed.
“I love it. it is my life. It is very normal for Kurds to learn to use weapons like this.” Palani told the publication in perfect American-accented English.
— Syria Today (@todayinsyria) May 25, 2016
Her trek in late 2014 to to Syria to help defeat ISIS and Assad was, as she put it, a “fight for human rights for all people.”
“On the 14th of November 2014 I went to Iraq, and then I went to Rojova in Syria. I was with the YPG (People’s Protection Unit) for six months and then I was with the Peshmerga for six months, so I was fighting for a year.”
It was never her intention to leave the battlefield.
“I never thought, I want to go home. Honestly, there were some times I was afraid. There were times when I wished I would survive, yes. But there wasn’t one single second where I wished I was home again. I knew I was in the right place.”
— News-Now (@juergen_p) February 5, 2016
Then she returned to Copenhagen for a short visit with her family.
“The Peshmerga gave me 15 days off, ” she explained. “After arriving in Denmark the police sent me an email after only three days. It said my passport was no longer valid, and would be revoked if I was to attempt to leave the country. If I was to go back I could go to jail for six years.”
And that put an end to her military career.
“This put me in a bad situation—as many people were very disappointed in me. I was training some girls in weapons, so it meant I let these girls down as it was not complete.”
And she felt let down by her adopted country.
“I would give my life for Europe, for democracy, for freedom and for women’s rights,” she said. “I feel like I have been betrayed by those who I was ready to sacrifice my life for.”
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