Sunday 4 January 2015

Kobane: extraordinary video

The Arab Spring, so-called, seems a long time ago. Crowds of ecstatic people dancing in circles at Tahrir Square symbolised a new era, which tyrants had reason to fear and flat-footed Western politicians scrambled to try to understand. But the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt presaged a re-assertion of old, and by the time the unrest had spread to Syria it was clear a prolonged civil war, rather than a lightening revolution would ensue.

Kobane, a hitherto innocuous border town between Syria and Turkey has been a microcosm of all that has gone wrong since, as the fighters of IS which emerged from the conflict lay siege. And in this extraordinary film which the BBC released yesterday you get a genuine glimpse of the lives of the mainly young men and women fighting for Kurdistan. It strikes me as a Middle Eastern version of Stalingrad.

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