Marco Gelhat is the youngest italian fighter in Syria. He left to join the international brigades of YPG, at age 22. Estreme Conseguenze is now working on a series of interviews dedicated to the new partisans, who fight against IS. Men and women who decided to dedicate their lives to the war against the self-proclaimed “Khalifat”, and once they came back to Italy, they were put on probation by italian police headquarters and public prosecutors.
Some of them risk restictive measures, they risk missing civil rights, and suffering an exile based on their alleged social dangerousness. (Read more here)
Those are stories that escape the focus of the public opinion, but EC wants to report them as closely as possibile. We meet Marco in a tavern near Rovigo, north-east of Italy. His look really strikes your attention, for its serenity.
“When I left I told nobody. Nor my family, or my friends”
It was a really nice meeting, call sign “Drakon”. To his uncle, Giuliano Giovannini, the merit of arranging this interview.
I thought about it for over a year. I was studying the Öcalan books and I was getting interested in the kurdish question that was emerged since a while. Little by little I started considering leaving, engaged by the spanish civil war and by the international partisan tales. They always fascinated me, and because of that… in the end, I left. I didn’t do it with the idea in mind of shooting, I think violence should be the extrema ratio, the final solution. You should always try to communicate, debate, using weapons should be your last option.I went there to learn, not to teach, not to exalt myself nor to find something I lost… I went there to learn a to give what I could, whatever little it could have been. If it would have been necessary, I would have cleaned the toilettes.
Surely, war forces you to get trained, to learn how to use a weapon, ‘cause if someone breaks in your house and you must defend yourself…Training consists in an ideological linguistic education, in which you study the Öcalan books. You start with Sumerians, reading about mithology, studying the Middle Easy philosophy enriched by the western one. Then you face the language, the kurdish Cumangi, and eventually the military training.
The things that got stuck in my head are the eyes of the children, ‘cause a children finds himself involved in a war he doesn’t want. He sees bombs falling from the sky, but it’s not a child game… Who, or what, do they die for? They can’t understand what’s behind that, also because it’s often absurd.
It’s more complex than that, ‘cause killing is different… I consider it as the last option, it’s not…
I don’t want to ask if you killed anyone, but were you ready to? You were at war…
The way I see it, it’s very mechanical… It’s detached, logic, and there are irrational and unconscious components too, that saves your life. When you’re there you think about living in a mechanical way. You think “I must stay alive”, so you you make what you can to survive. It’s very logical, instinctive… I wouldn’t know how else to describe it, but yes, it’s very mechanical.
Yes, I feel alone in a kind of way, but then I think about all the companions that fight and denounce injustices every day… It’s what Zinn, the north american historian and political scientist, said in an interview. They asked him “Don’t you feel alone with just your thoughts?” and he replied “Yes, every Tuesday I always feel e little lonely, but then I think about all the people that fight injustices on a daily basis, and they denounces them, and that makes me feel better, because it makes me feel like I’m not alone”. That’s what makes me feel less lonely, ‘cause there are companions everywhere that are not alone. We are the same and different, in a kind of way…
I don’t miss fighting, I miss the people, I miss what they are trying to do. That I miss, not fighting!
Did you meet Orso?
Yes, Lorenzo, of course.
What can you tell us about him?
He was an extremely friendly person, somehow “crazy”, in a good way, and he always struck me because of his altruism. He was always focused. Whatever he was doing, even digging a hole, he put 100% of him on that, working all day long, never leaving his spot and never taking a break from his duty. He was dedicated and dutiful. He believed in what he was doing, but not in an acritical way. He had an anarchic view of the world, he read Ellul and was very acculturated, but he thought about himself and the experience he was living in order to learn something.
A memory of him you can share?
There’s one… I was talking with a companion from Rome. We were in Mamic, before leaving for Afrin, and he was there, smoking his sigarette. You could see it in his eyes: he was not afraid, he was fearless, he wanted to go the because he felt it. He wasn’t afraid of dying, to face what he believed… yes, that struck me… the eyes, the eyes always tell you everything about anyone