Think you know courage? Think again. Then, think again while envisioning David Graeber, Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, who has just today volunteered to go fight in the trenches for the protection of the people of Syrian Kurdistan.
David Graeber already demonstrated his bravery when he wrote a 987-word piece for The Guardian headlined “Why is the world ignoring the revolutionary Kurds of Syria?” Graeber, lone voice of courage, takes anti-imperialists to task for failing to see the obvious historical parallels between the current situation, with the leftist YPG currently fighting the well-funded nihilists of ISIS, and the doomed anti-fascist fighters of the Spanish Republic in the 1930s (Graeber’s father was among their ranks). All agree that the situation is tragic, but the Professor distinguishes himself by suggesting we do something about it.
As he has been patiently explaining to the haters and losers, decent, realistic people should support arming the Kurds. Who should arm the Kurds? Anyone works, but it’d probably be NATO. Q.E.D., all decent people who oppose imperial expansion and meddling must call for a NATO “something” in the current fighting. To do otherwise would be to display your naïveté and imperial privilege.
Many are grateful to Graeber for simply relaying the desires of the locals, of which he alone has special knowledge. But he took his commitment to the next level by tweeting the following this morning:
By “defenders of Kobane” it turns out the Professor was using the fancy academic trick called “metonymy” to refer to himself. The link went to a fundraiser for a project called “Homage to Kobane,” which its creator says will grant Graeber “the opportunity to gain the same experiences, and the same historical influence on the world as his dad.” Perhaps he deleted the link to the page (which you really ought to read) out of modesty – after all, the Orwell comparison! Such flattery! – or knowing that his legions of fans would raise the funds just fine for him.
The most persuasive and well-sourced counterarguments fall flat in the face of this moxie. Graeber has demonstrated Napoleonic levels of strategic brilliance while giving marching orders to his thousands of followers, who will surely join him in Syria in some sort of, say, “Graebraham Lincoln Brigade”! If foreigners do not follow his lead, I can guarantee that the Professor will climb the ranks of the resistance quickly by virtue of his brilliance and his militant opposition to bullshit jobs, mean net users, and other banes of the revolutionary working class.
Even the most trenchant anti-imperialists are humbled by Graeber’s display of courage. When you are crawling through the mud, dodging small arms fire, performing field amputations, brutally interrogating captured fighters, giving inspirational impromptu TED talks to your besieged squad, struggling against dysentery, refurbishing Soviet-era weaponry, mailing draft chapters to your publisher by international post, detonating car bombs, and hanging out with this guy, we will be thinking of you, Graeber. Godspeed you, Comrade Professor Graeber – may you lead by example and show that most prominent and vocal supporters of joining the right conflict will never show cowardice or surrender!