Michael Enright, a British-born actor who has played supporting roles in several famous Hollywood movies, has joined the Kurdish YPG forces fighting ISIS. In a May 28 interview with Alaan TV, Enright said that he was motivated to join the fight after seeing ISIS atrocities. ISIS is "a stain on humanity," he added, criticizing Iraqi Shiites, whom he referred to as "the French of the Middle East," for giving up instead of fighting ISIS.
Following are excerpts:
Voice of reporter: This is not a scene from a film. These are the first real images of Hollywood actor Michael Enright in Syria. Three months ago he left Los Angeles, and traveled to the battlefield of the Syrian city of Al-Hasakah. The British-born actor has joined the Kurdish YPG forces, in order to fight ISIS, which he views as his sworn enemy. This is the first time he speaks to the camera since arriving in Syria.
Michael Enright: ISIS… They need to be wiped off completely from the face of this Earth. They are a stain on humanity. This is not just a Kurdish call. This is a call to humanity to obliterate them. What made you come to Syria to fight ISIS? I have been to the Middle East before, and actually, I really liked the Arab people. I really liked them. I got on really well with them. They were incredible hospitable to me, and I learned a little bit about Islam.
So mashallah, I actually learned the prayer: Allah Akbar. In the name of Allah, the Merciful the Compassionate. Praise be to Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. [I learned this] because I wanted to go and pray in a mosque. I was interested in how they get to God. I was fascinated by this. They changed my name. This was before I came to Kurdistan. They changed it to Mustafa Michael Ali.
Then I saw what they [ISIS] were doing. Then I saw what these non-Islamic people, these non-Muslims – ISIS, daesh, the IS, whatever you want to call it, I call them ISIS for the time being… It was just horrendous. I particularly came aware of them when they cut off an American journalist's head – an innocent man with his hands tied behind his back, and they cut his head off. What was even worse for me was that it was an Englishman who did it. I live in America. I feel such a debt to America. I love America with all my heart, and it was an Englishman who did it to an American citizen!
I just said: Oh, wow. I got to try and help. I'm going to try and right that wrong. Then he did it to the Englishman, and then to the Japanese. Then I found out about the Yazidi people. I'd never heard of Yazidis before. If you'd have said: "What is a Yazidi?" I would have said: "Is that something you eat?" I had no idea. But I found out that they [ISIS] were killing the men and the boys, little boys, and turning their widows and their little girls, who were not fatherless, into rape victims. They were gang-raping them. That was just too much. The straw that broke the camel's back, I guess, was the Jordanian pilot, when they burned him alive. That was when I decided was going to come.
Question: "Why did you join the Kurdish YPG?"
Michael Enright: The Kurds and the Shiite Iraqis were fighting ISIS. The Iraqi Shiites – they were just like the French of the Middle East, they would just give up. They just keep surrendering, and giving all the weapons that the American citizens had paid for over to the enemy. But the Kurds were not [like that]. They were fighting, and I thought: I want to join them, because that's my spirit. I didn't come here to run [away], I came here to fight, and if I have to die, I am going to die.
Question: "How serious are you about engaging in this war?"
Michael Enright: You know, I didn't come here to play games. I wrote all my friends and family, because I might not see them again. I told them that I loved them and that I hoped to see them again, but we are in a war, so I don't know whether that would be in this life or the next.
Question: "Do you find it difficult to live in Syria, compared to Los Angeles?"
Michael Enright: No. We sleep on the floor, but we have a little mat. Not always, but often. So, no. I'm good, man. I mean, I came to suffer. I didn't come here for a party. I came here thinking this was going to be a very suffering experience. So, I'm okay. I'm ready to go.
Question: "Tell us what happened to you on the frontline?"
Michael Enright: I've got two dogs behind, barking at me, trying to protect their house, and I've got, maybe, ISIS coming at me that way, and I thought: The dogs could have my ass, because I'm keeping my eyes on them [ISIS]. Then we went to liberate one building, and we found all these bombs, these landmines and IEDs… It was something out of the movies. As I was driving through these little Arab areas, all the people came out [cheering]. They were so happy to see us. All the women were ululating, you know. The only time we see that in the West is in a movie.
Question: "Will you transform your Syria experience into a Hollywood film?"
Michael Enright: I haven't thought about that at all, because there's a… No, I haven't. I thought about killing them [ISIS]. I'm very singly-focused. At the moment, I'm thinking about that [Hollywood].