Still from the short doc No Free Steps to Heaven.
Itai Anghel, an Isreali Jewish news correspondent and filmmaker with the balls the size of pumpkins, recently wandered into Syria and Iraq with a camera, and not much else, (no helmet, no bullet proof vest) to capture the front lines of the Kurdish fight against ISIS. No Free Steps to Heaven is an eye-opening, stomach-turning, bone-chilling account of the horrors currently taking place in the Middle East in the name of terrorism.
We actually couldn't watch the beginning of this 45-minute documentary, which includes excerpts of ISIS propaganda, and video featuring disturbingly brutal executions. But, if you start at minute 20, and go to about 38:22, you'll get an amazing (and not too graphically violent) story of the young female soldiers fighting ISIS. Some of them are just teenagers, and they renounce their former lives, go to boot camp and then go to battle. And, they've got labes the size of watermelons.
When asked about why she's fighting, one young woman, while sitting around a campfire with her fellow female and male soldiers, explains so eloquently:
I joined the YPG [People's Protection Unit] to protect my people, and to protect women, especially...In the distant past, women were deemed sacred and, in time, men in general, and in this region in particular, deprived us of our rights. We became an object that can cook, raise children and serve. So now, we're retrieving the status we deserve. By enlisting the guerilla forces, my friends and I are proving that a woman can do everything a man does. So, our struggle is not only for Kurdish women, but for women the world over.
When the filmmaker says: "You know ISIS will kill in order for you not to implement this idea," she responds:
I don't care. I'm not afraid. They should fear me. I know very well what ISIS is. They are merely human beings. I am a human being too. They know how to fight. I know how to fight too. They have guns. I have a gun too. What I have and they don't is a purpose worth fighting for. This empowers me. I'm here to protect my existence. I am fighting to live; they are fighting to die.
Later on in the segment, we hear from two captured ISIS fighters who say that they happily (their term) beheaded heretics and believe if they're killed in battle, they'll go to heaven and receive 72 virgins. But here's the colossal irony: If they're killed in battle by a woman, they believe they won't go to heaven. Explains one:
We saw women fighters and we were told to stay away. So we retreated. So the Kurdish women wouldn't kill us.
An interesting side note: The following is the 20th footnote to the chapter "The Problem with Islam" in Sam Harris's book, The End of Faith:
Christopher Luxenberg (this is a pseudonym), a scholar of ancient Semitic languages, has recently argue that a mistranslation is responsible for furnishing the Muslim paradise with "virgins" (Arabic hur, transliterated as "houris" -- literally "white ones"). It seems that the passages describing paradise in the Koran were drawn from earlier Christian texts that make frequent use of the Aramaic word hur, meaning "white raisins." White raisins, it seems, were a great delicacy in the ancient world. Imagine the look on a young martyr's face when, finding himself in a paradise teaming with his fellow thugs, his seventy houris arrive as a fistful of raisins.
See A. Stille, "Scholars Are Quietly Offering New Theories of the Koran," New York Times, March 2, 2002.