Nothing can prepare you for hearing that your child was murdered in a foreign country while fighting for somebody else’s freedom. You aren’t sure whether you should be consumed by pride or anger at the randomness of life.
What makes it even more painful for friends is the fact that there were no goodbyes. Maybe it was fear of being talked out of the decision. That means there is no closure for them.
Anna Campbell went against the British Government’s will and joined the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. She was not the only one, of course. At least 20 Britons have done the same and joined the Kurdish resistance. So far eight have died in combat. The Kurds have invited the parents of the deceased to Syria but only three fathers have accepted.
Jac Holmes was only 24 years old when he died in 2017. His father chose to visit the places where his son fought. He wanted to get a sense of what it was that made his son feel this was his war too. From a young age, Jac developed a love for firearms and even joined the ‘Daesh Hunting Club’ back home. Daesh is the name for the Salafi jihadist militant group. His decision to become a freedom fighter was not made overnight; he wanted to do much more than simply raise awareness.
Kosta Scurfield was 25 when he died in Syria in 2015. His parents knew very little about what he was doing over there. As a young man he was always very disciplined, so much so that he looked down on playing. He joined the Royal Marines but felt let down when they decided not to go into Northern Syria.
Anna Campbell believed that love is what should drive the decision to join the revolution. In retrospect her father thinks she was not ready for military action. He attributes her death to her being too young and too impetuous to weigh the risks properly.
The parents are understandably angry with the Kurds and maybe offended that the Westerners were put on the front line. In spite of their anger, they still want to see for themselves what exactly it was that their children died for. It could be a search for closure or it could be a need for understanding what really happened.