Michael Israel died fighting the fascists- Rest in Power!

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#1
If you are a crossover user from anarcho-punk.net, you may have already seen me post this. If so, I apologize, but I want to share Michael's story with as many people as possible. He was a torch of inspiration, and remains so even in death. I meant to post this days ago, but I have been mentally exhausted with the shock of Mike's death. This is the first clear day I've had so far, so I am posting this now.

“This is not only a war against the spread of fascism by ISIS and their supporters in the Turkish government though. The YPG is creating a revolutionary environment in Rojava,” he [Michael] wrote in a social media post in August 2015. “Where liberated communities are not treated as conquered peoples, but are instead empowered, allowed to self govern and be the masters of their own destinies.”

http://www.uniondemocrat.com/localnews/4863638-151/mother-lode-man-killed-in-syria?referrer=bullet2

Dear Michael Israel,
I just found out that you died a few hours ago.

I still remember when you told me that we should hang out because you were leaving soon. Leaving? To where? I knew you well enough to realize that you weren't going on a cruise.
Ever since I met you, you were always giving yourself to people; oppressed people, poor people, sad people, homeless people.

Once, when a drug dealer threatened your roommate, you invited the drug dealer to coffee so you could try to talk things out. You were arrested for civil disobedience at least one time that I know of. You spent every spare moment of your life fighting injustice and working for a better world, and you didn't do it to look cool. I think you did it because you were filled with some kind of light from another world, and sometimes, when you were just sitting there, I would catch glimpses of it beaming out of you.

I mean that you would look at everyone in the room like they were something special, like you were so honored to witness your friends drinking beer and telling dirty jokes in front of the TV. I don't think you ever caught me watching your secret light, and I don't think it ever occurred to you, even once, that you were the special one, not us.

So, after years of witnessing your constant dedication to humanity- and even an injured deer you found in your backyard, once- I knew that you weren't going on some touristy excursion around Europe. Not you.

We were sitting on a bench on a sidewalk in Angel's Camp when you said, "I'm going to Syria to join the Kurds in fighting ISIS."

You said it without a hint of pride. You said it the same way someone would mention that they are going on a camping trip. That light made you brave.

You came back to the States to visit right around this time last year, and I saw you a few, final times, then you returned to Syria. From what you told me, and what I have gathered, you repaired houses that were destroyed by terrorist bombings. I do not know everything else that you did, but I know that you also sang, danced, fought the bad guys, and posed with puppies.

I will never know what, exactly, your final moments were like in the bombing. I'll never know how many lives you touched in aiding the anarchist Kurds as they built their self reliant community. I'll never know, really, what made your soul so powerful, or what secret machinery made your eyes so bright, your crow's feet so wrinkled and deep when you smiled, but I do know this; people like you never truly die.

I love you, Mike.

file-php-id-82-mode-view-jpg.34394_Michael Israel died fighting the fascists- Rest in Power!_Obituaries_Squat the Planet_2:28 PM
 
Joined
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#2
Full text from the Union Democrat article for those who may not be able to access the link for whatever reason:

An Amador man with ties to Calaveras and Tuolumne counties was killed this week in Rojava, a region of northern Syria, where he served as a volunteer with Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIS and its allies.

Anne Colman, an administrator for Mountain Oaks School in San Andreas, confirmed the death of Michael Israel, 27, Wednesday afternoon. Israel was a student at Mountain Oaks for five years when Colman was a teacher. He graduated in 2007.

Heather Nordstrom, a local activist who met Israel around 2011 during the “Occupy Sonora” movement, said she heard Israel died in a Turkish airstrike.

Officials that represent the Kurdish group known officially as the People’s Defense Units, the primary armed division for the Federation of Northern Syria - Rojava, said on social media they were waiting on a report and could not comment.

Israel’s family in Jackson could not be reached Wednesday.

Israel joined the People’s Defense Units, acronymically translated in Kurdish as YPG, in August of 2015. He was assisting with the Rojava revolution, a political and social movement that has been striving for the implementation of democratic methods and gender equality since July 2012.

“This is not only a war against the spread of fascism by ISIS and their supporters in the Turkish government though. The YPG is creating a revolutionary environment in Rojava,” he wrote in a social media post in August 2015. “Where liberated communities are not treated as conquered peoples, but are instead empowered, allowed to self govern and be the masters of their own destinies.”

Nordstrom thought Israel grew impatient in the years leading up to his decision to join Kurdish forces. She said he was active in protests locally and in Sacramento but possibly became frustrated with the lack of action throughout the state.

“I know he got kind of impatient. He was frustrated with the lack of movement in this part of California,” Nordstrom said. “When the opportunity (to join the fight in Syria) came up, I think he found it was his calling.”

“(He might have) felt like the “Occupy” movement didn’t accomplish anything. It did on a certain level. Not politically. But socially. It got people educated. I thought he wanted to see more movement quicker.”

Colman said Israel was an “amazing kid.” He was the type of morally upright, globally conscious citizen a teacher always wanted to work with. His interests were affirmed on graduation day in 2007 when he was absent while he participated in a peace walk across the country.

“He was somewhere in Oklahoma (on the day),” Colman said.

Nordstrom said her fellow activist was someone she thought very highly of. He was humble and kind. He was passionate but “walked his talk.”

“He could relate to everyone on a human level. He was really smart. He wrote really well. He knew his politics. He saw complex issues and could explain what happened with ease.”
 
Joined
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#4
The Sacramento Anti-Fascists started a fund to help Mike's family with the cost of his burial. Mike was a volunteer, therefore he has no burial funds. On top of funerary costs, his body must be shipped back to US. I know that a lot of us are broke on here, but if you happen to have some cash rolling around and feel so inclined, you can help Michael's folks afford a proper goodbye with their son here:

https://www.youcaring.com/theisraelfamily-706143


2016_12_08_12_38_05-jpg.34451_Michael Israel died fighting the fascists- Rest in Power!_Obituaries_Squat the Planet_8:43 AM
 
Last edited:
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#5
Your friend is a hero! Please consider sending an obituary in to our newspaper. Our print runs are 22,000 and it's internationally distributed. One of us is working on a book review about Syria, Burning Country, and a 'zine review about Rojava that's already been published on here, so it could fit in nicely.
 
Joined
May 28, 2015
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Current Location
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#6
Your friend is a hero! Please consider sending an obituary in to our newspaper. Our print runs are 22,000 and it's internationally distributed. One of us is working on a book review about Syria, Burning Country, and a 'zine review about Rojava that's already been published on here, so it could fit in nicely.
I would be honored to contribute Michael's story! He wanted more people to know about Rojava. Where could I send an obituary?
 
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#7
I would be honored to contribute Michael's story! He wanted more people to know about Rojava. Where could I send an obituary?
You can e-mail us at [email protected], please send it as an attached document and include a black and white picture if you can. Thanks! And we're extremely sorry for you and your community's loss.
 
Joined
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#9
Indeed.. a true hero fighting for our cause. We could all learn something from this man, he went above and beyond what most of us ever will to make the world a better place . Rest easy brother.
 
Joined
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#10
You can e-mail us at [email protected], please send it as an attached document and include a black and white picture if you can. Thanks! And we're extremely sorry for you and your community's loss.
I just sent an email to the address you provided. It includes a black and white picture of Mike, as well as an obituary. Both are in attachment form.

There were some difficulties with file formatting, but I think everything is in decent order. Let me know if there are any problems I need to fix :)

Subject is "Michael Israel's Obituary/YPG"
 
Joined
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Berkeley Calif
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slingshot.tao.ca
#11
I just sent an email to the address you provided. It includes a black and white picture of Mike, as well as an obituary. Both are in attachment form.

There were some difficulties with file formatting, but I think everything is in decent order. Let me know if there are any problems I need to fix :)

Subject is "Michael Israel's Obituary/YPG"
I hope someone let you know it did get printed, and it's posted here: http://slingshot.tao.ca/?p=116153
 

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