Ivan, a young man of Greek origin, grew up in a socialist-communist family. He says: “It had always been my childhood dream, to battle fascism in a warzone”. Finally his dream has come true, at the frontlines in Raqqa.
Born in Athens, the young Greek of a socialist familiy headed to Rojava five months ago and pursuant to his upbringing he says: “When I betook myself to the Middle East to join the Rojava Revolution and fight against the AKP-ISIS fascism, the biggest support came from my family.”
The cheerful fighter of the Internationalist Battallion, Ivan, is much cherished by his comrades. Ivan, who eagerly craves for taking part in each and every battle, is never laying down his rifle. In a larger area at the frontline of Raqqa, Ivan, an expert of the B7, is active as a paramedic and also engaged in mine sweeping and clearance, tracking down ISIS traps against civilians and coordination determination. With all this, Ivan is known for the wide range of his abilities.
At the beginning of the interview, Ivan exclaimed brightly after learning that I am originally from Cyprus, saying: “Wherever the Turkish state is, there are problems. Do not worry, we will keep fighting until the end of the Turkish fascism.”
We conducted our interview with Ivan at the frontline during a three hours long operation. Ivan and his comrades were touring and controlling some recently liberated neighbourhoods, only one kilometer east of the centre of Raqqa. Ivan, whose finger was carefully positioned on the trigger, proceeded very guardedly. He was after all also responsible for my safety. In the middle of such precarious circumstances, Ivan agreed nonetheless to answer all my questions.
I begin with the question of the reason that took him to Rojava from Greece.
Ivan explained to me that there is not one simple reason alone and took me to a journey of a fusion of personal and politically motivated causes.
THE FIGHT AGAINST FASCISM WAS HIS DREAM
Concerning the personal aspect, he said: “I grew up in a socialist-communist family. I always listened to partisan music and grew up with the stories of the Greek leftist struggle. This revolutionist culture which I inherited from my family became a motivation for me to become part of this revolution. This inspired me. It was always my childhood dream to fight against fascism at the frontline of a warzone.”
THE TASK TO STAND WITH THE KURDS
On part of the political reasons he stated: “Right now a Revolution Spring is blossoming at the Mediterranean and the Middle East. I deem it my task to do all that I can during the process of a revolution which has been initialized by the Kurds. For the fraternity of all peoples of this world, in which I truly believe, and the downfall of fascism, I am now in the emplacements in Raqqa.”
“ON MY WAY, I MADE A PROMISE FOR RAQQA”
Ivan recalled an oath he once gave before his arrival to Rojava regarding the liberation of Raqqa. He explained that he had promised his comrades in Greece, who were also friends of the Kurdish people, that he would not return home before the completion of Raqqa’s liberation and the demise of the fascism of ISIS.
HE DESIRED TO BECOME PART OF THE VICTORY OF THE KURDS
Ivan pointed out that he will fulfil his promise on all accounts, even if it might result in his death and added: “Raqqa is the symbolic capital of ISIS. Alone in regard to that this bears great relevancy. To put a final end to this disgrace in their own capital will convey an important message to the world. Fascism will be defeated in its own capital. To prove to the world that nothing is impossible and to help the Kurdish people prevail, we are ready to give our lives. We are internationalists, we fight against fascism no matter where in this world. ISIS is the conglomeration of our world’s dark face. Those who are fighting currently on the ground against this disgrace are the Kurds. Our presence here is at the same time a morale boost for the Kurds as well.”
Ivan stressed that the Greek people are friends of the Kurdish people and the Greek state is not inimical to the Kurds either. Ivan continued by drawing the attention to the cooperation and sympathy between Turkey and ISIS and pointed out that he has no problem with the Islamic culture whatsoever, saying: “The AKP is a fascist party and its members represent the bad side of Islamic culture. ISIS and the AKP are that one and the same. And when their mindset and interests are of the same nature, then it becomes quite normal to feed each other. The biggest common enemy of both of them, are the Kurds anyway.”
“WE ARE WRITING DOWN A BIG HISTORY HERE”
Ivan stated that he has already witnessed the most painful and severe aspect of the war, which he will never be able to forget, but he nevertheless liked to talk about the positive and favorable sides he came across here. He continued, saying: “Take a look around, many internationalists from all around the world have come here together. This means a lot and I am one of them, too. It was my childhood dream, which has come true now and has become a fact, which I will be able to tell my children about. We are standing in the same emplacements in the fight against fascism. This is a big story, that will never be forgotten. And we are figures in a story of such an extent. If there were no Kurds and YPG, leftists from different backrounds around the world would not be able to come together here either.”
“THE WINNERS IN THIS WAR ARE US”
Ivan has a message to convey to the Kurds living in Europe and other communities. He points out that not every person is capable of fighting in an armed struggle, but there is always something every single person can do: “Political activities, information events, raising awareness…” In the end Ivan said: “The winners in this war are us. Yes, we have prevailed and ISIS is defeated.”
* This article first appeared on Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper and was translated by ANF English service.