Today we talk about a strange new industry called war tourism. This is where westerns go off to ISIS controlled Syria and Iraq and fight for what I can only assume to be their beliefs. While the term is new men and women have often gone off to fight in causes they believed in.
When I first heard about this on the BBC I thought of Hemingway and the Lincoln Brigade fighting in Spain during their Civil War. Is there much of a difference. While I have read about and listened to interviews of the soldiers that fought against Franco I have not heard from similar tourists going off to Syria.
Will we treat these current day warriors the same way? Many that went off to fight in Spain were able to use their training in fighting the Germany in WWII. Unfortunately their home countries (US and Britain come to mind) not only forgot about them, but also persecuted them as Reds and Communists in the post WWII era.
As an unrepentant cold warrior I get it. It was not right but it is important to see the period in the eyes of those that were there.
With all this news on ISIS I come to read this week that the Smithsonian has released folk tune from the Spanish Civil War. Songs heard by the 2,500 that went off to fight from the US as well as friends and family at home. I look forward to listening to these and think about men (and women) willing to leave their country and go and fight for their beliefs.
Are you able to do this?