What are the driving forces behind an individual leaving the comforts of home to fight a battle not of their own choosing and risking a journey of no return? This question has baffled many governments and one is led to believe that only Western countries have it right and all others are wrong. A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: WESTERNERS & ISLAMIC FIGHTERS JOURNEY TO THE OTHER SIDE – A JOURNEY OF NO RETURN
This author is certainly not an expert at what forces ignites or motivates an individual to take such a route in life; other than to describe life experiences that may or may not shed some light on such vexing matters. Perfect examples can be taken from the nineteen sixties, seventies and eighties where Australians from diverse origins were approached with the view of fighting in South Africa, Namibia, Lebanon, Israeli/Arab wars, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Ireland, South American nations amongst a host of other countries.
Other examples that may assist the reader to place matters into perspective was during the Greek War of Independence, Spanish, Greek, Syrian civil wars foreign fighters and civilian contractors were attracted to such conflicts for reasons such as seeking adventure, battle with alleged “evil hordes”, infidels, religion, revenge, love of killing, battle experience, the thrill, identification with one side or another, purpose in life, to prove something, to learn battle techniques, fight for a cause and/or to do what they believe is the right thing to do and lastly money which is a great seducer of young men and women.
This is what every Western government must face. They are aware that Westerners who have gone to fight against ISIS and are helpless to stop them. The main reason is the lack of concrete evidence to stop any individual from travelling overseas and participating. Questions alone at departure and entry point cannot stop an individual seeking to take that journey of no return and therefore the community must also take up the cudgel so to speak and support the government agencies of the day by reporting behaviour of an individual that is demonstrating a willingness to purchase a ticket of no return.
Those responsible for the distribution of travels plans will have to play a responsible role and provide government material to all individuals travelling overseas warning them of the dangers of fighting in a war that is not compatible with the nation’s security and longevity. Sooner or later it will become an offence for any Travel agent, community leader, parent, academic and/or organisation who fail to report an individual who has displayed or demonstrated behavioural traits that are consistent with joining and/or supporting any group fighting overseas.
Over the past 80 years, this has also become a problem for individuals from Palestine and Israel who travel to fight on either side. It happened during the Anglo/Irish issue, Civil War in Greece, Lebanon, Cyprus/Turkish issue, Spanish Civil War, Middle East, Algeria, Somalia, etc, etc. This can happen if the USA, NZ, Canada, Briton, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Russia, Baltic countries, Greece and other nations whose citizens are spread throughout the world find themselves in a civil war. However I have confidence and quite sure that government agencies are aware of this and are taking positive steps to slow down those contemplating on such a journey of no return.
Whatever the case maybe, whatever barriers governments put in place, whatever education and training is spent on the community and the nations citizens, there will always be those who will slip through the safety net and join one group or another for the reasons indicated above. It’s a fact of life and we who live in the West can only abide by the laws of the land with the hope that our lives are not disrupted by a government that feels it has to take a “Big Brother” approach to monitoring the behaviour of its citizens.
This places any western government in a quandary or more to the point between a rock and a hard place. Damned if they do and damned if they dont; that is the governments are faced with today. The Returned Services League (RSL) has the answer: “VIGILANCE” should be the nations catch cry in such trying times. We live in a world that no longer has any boundaries, a world where privacy has become a dirty word.
Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected] or via Mobile: 0409965538