British, American, Spanish, Estonian, Greek, Italian, Swiss… they are all flower buds blooming in the lake of blood that makes Rojava what it is. Whichever internationalist fighter I talk to tells me, ‘I came here to defend humanity, to contribute to the revolution and because it is also my responsibility to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Kurds.’
As I was moving around the frontlines yesterday, I crossed paths with one of our mutual friends, Roza. She tells me, ‘You’re hiding something from me. You want to tell me something but you can’t.’ I don’t want it to be me who tells her Demhat has been martyred.
The American, Demhat Goldman, was returning from an operation with friends on the night of July 5th and was a short distance from the place they were staying when it happened. There were 6 of them in the group. On that bloody night 3 other young men were martyred (alongside the 3 internationalists) and there were also many injured. As the group moved towards their resting point, one of Demhat’s friends stepped on a mine; and as the mine exploded the group were fired upon. 4 were martyred there and then while the others were brought to the ramshackle first aid point in ambulances, their screams ringing in the night.
I was staying at the first aid point. It was around 02.00. I woke up amidst the painful screams and ran to the doctor. When the ambulance door opened 3 corpses and 3 critically injured bodies wrapped in blankets were taken out. In haste the doctor began attending to the injured. Not knowing what to do I lifted the blankets covering the bodies of those declared dead; 2 of the corpses were unidentifiable. The third was Soro (Zinar) from England. I had met Soro the day before at the point where fighters in the offensive groups convene; he had promised to invite me to his emplacement and give me an interview. Seeing him now like this ripped my insides to shreds. I was startled by the doctor calling me to help one of the wounded fighters, who was crying in pain.
He was heavily wounded; the bones in both his legs could be seen, he was soaked in blood. He had covered his face with his hands, but I had been told by the doctor to free his hands so a blood serum could be attached to his arm. Only when I had freed his hands did I understand why I had been given the responsibility to do this, the injured fighter was the American, Heval Rodi (Nicholas Alan Warden). The doctor wanted me to help in speaking English with him. I had seen Rodi every day for almost a week and now he was lying there covered in blood.
Suddenly something inside me screamed ‘Demhat!’ The day before I had seen Rodi, Soro and Demhat together behind a vehicle near the point where the groups going on the offensive convene. Their faces were beaming; they were finally heading to the frontlines, a moment they had been waiting for, for a long time.
Rodi could not form coherent sentences so I didn’t want to tire him out by asking. As soon as the initial medical intervention was over, I turned to the group who had brought the martyred and wounded and - even though I speak the language - began shouting aggressively, ‘Demhat! Demhat!’ The 3 internationalists had only recently joined the local group and so none of the others had memorised their names. One of them came towards me and said, ‘Demhat, foreigner, American?’ ‘Yes, Demhat,’ I responded. All he could say was, ‘Martyr Demhat’. A little while later he continued and told me that Demhat’s corpse had been left behind amongst the jihadist group and that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had launched an operation to recover it.
The morning had arrived and the first aid point had settled down with people lying down to take a break; I was waiting for Demhat. He was going to come, he had to…
I was pondering the meaning and importance of hundreds of internationalist fighters who had joined the YPG and the revolution, with some even becoming martyrs. The thought that these honourable deaths would bring about fraternity between all the peoples of the world crept into my mind; and the conversations I had had with the 3 martyrs. I was re-living the moments I had spent with Demhat when the ambulance’s siren woke me from my day-dream. I ran to the front of the building, Demhat had arrived. His eyes and face were smiling, the love for humanity he carried in his heart had been reflected onto his face… The doctor carried out the necessary procedures… Nobody slept that night… Demhat’s corpse had arrived in the armoured car he appears in front of in a photo I had taken of him...
Demhat was not a fighter who spoke to the press, maybe he had given his first and only interview to us. Exactly ten days after that interview I greeted Demhat at the point where the interview had been conducted; his martyrdom has made him dearer to me.
It’s not going to be me who tells Roza that Demhat has been martyred.
Source: Yeni Ozgur Politika