RIP Konstandions Erik Sculfield: anti-fascist hero

March 4, 2015 at 7:52 pm (anti-fascism, good people, humanism, internationalism, Jim D, kurdistan, Middle East, RIP, solidarity, war)


.The ex-Royal Marine, named as Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, who was killed fighting for the Peshmerga in northern Iraq.

Make no mistake: ex-Royal Marine, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, who was killed on Monday, fighting with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, was an anti-fascist hero.

His comrade, ex-US soldier Jordan Matson, also a YPG volunteer, wrote on Facebook:

“Kosta as we call him was from the United Kingdom and was born a Greek citizen. He served in both the Greek army and as a British Royal Marine commando up until he came here. He served with me in Jezza and Shengal.

“Kosta volunteered for every attack and guard duty opportunity. He wanted nothing more than to bring the fight to the enemy.

“I’m going to carry on your legacy  brother, I will; never forget you. I love you man.

“Save ne a place up there big guy.”

Scurfield had been fighting in an area southwest of the town of Tal Hamis, which Kurdish forces seized from the ISIS/Daesh fascists last week, when (it is thought) the vehicle in which he was travelling was hit by mortar fire.

The death of this hero reminds us of how shamefully the Kurdish forces have been neglected by the West and that, despite their courage and superior fighting skills, they are often simply out-gunned by the well-equipped forces of ISIS/Daesh.

In memory of Kosta, we must demand of our government: Arm The Kurds!

Konstandions Erik Sculfield (kneeling); Credit: Facebook/Jordan Matson

Konstandions Erik Sculfield (kneeling); Credit: Facebook/Jordan Matson


  1. gzitver said,

    Hey, Jim. Can I cross-post this at Harry’s Place?


  2. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Good man indeed helping to get rid of the nutters. The Kurds deserve to have a State of their own. The Turks should be kicked out of NATO and isolated as they are becoming another islamic dictatorship.

  3. Jim Denham said,

  4. Rosie said,

    Your contempt for the Orr-ful one is shared by about 99% of the commenters. Shorter version – there’s no difference between fighting FOR ISIS and fighting AGAINST it.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      When the Guardian sack her at least she’ll get a job writing for the Morning Star, they love this kind of rubbish. It’s one step away from saying its all the fault of the West/we asked for it/the chickens have come home to roost.

  5. Rosie said,

    Sarka, an excellent commenter who, I’m glad to say, comments a lot at HP, left this in the thread:-

    “I’m going to bookmark and keep this piece, because it is such a perfect example of what has gone wrong with the the progressive liberal left view of the world with which, for the greater part of my life, I used to identify.

    It’s perfect, because its awfulness is so open – because it does not, like most other lesser examples, show any agonising or wriggling or even…shame.

    Deborah gives it to us straight: How dare the British public (insofar as they do), think there is anything admirable about Scurfield’s decision to go and fight against ISIL! How dare anyone make any favourable contrast between Scurfield – who lost his life fighting at the side of the Kurds, who may not be saints but whose cause is secular and reasonably civilised and who have been defending not just themselves but many innocent Christians and Yazidis etc…from the genocidal intentions of ISIS – and the British-passport holders who have gone to fight for ISIL! How dare anyone think that considerations of good and bad enter into this! To fight against an evil (and die) is “tragic” but also “senseless”! – making it no more reasonable and admirable than to fight for evil!

    Really, Deborah? That’s what you would have said about young Britons going off to fight on the republican side in the Spanish civil war, would you? You would have insisted there was no real difference, morally, between them and those who went to fight for Franco!? And you would have sanctimoniously inquired whether, really, there was any such thing as a “righteous” or even “right” cause that could ever be worth risking one’s life for…(the Nazis thought they were right, the anti-nazis (liberals, socialists) thought they were right – so what’s the difference really?) Scurfield quoted Sophie Scholl – and Deborah quotes his quote and leaves it hanging (like Scholl, really!) – with the implication that she doesn’t agree with Scholl either!

    “It’s dangerous, to think of anti-Islamism as a righteous cause, or a cause at all. Being against a cause is not a cause in itself.” What sophistry! What nonsense too…Martin Luther King was, I recall – against white supremacism – so his cause was not a cause then??? Guess so, and guess King was a bit of a pain-in-the-arse with all that righteousness – So that’s sorted then.

    And then we get this peculiar lacrymose “think of the children” line, involving the implication that being “just twenty-five” (sic!), Scurfield was simply a little kiddie, tragically deluded like a fifteen-year-old wannabee ISIL moll.

    I understand a strict pacifist position that disapproves of anyone fighting (physically) for any cause, good, bad or indifferent, but such positions are not usually characterised by refusal to morally judge the causes altogether..they are indeed in themselves moral, even “righteous” positions (though I don’t happen to agree), not “pragmatic” ones. They involve the faith that bad behaviour AND the attitudes driving are only to be defeated by non-violence, and not, for example, that one can’t judge the relative morality and toxicity of attitudes! Gandhi (only in practice sometimes a pacifist) had no doubts about which causes were better than others, and indeed worth dying for (as Scholl did) As I imply, I am not a pacifist, but then neither is Deborah – Deborah is clearly not EVEN a pacifist…she seems to be that odd creature, a very righteous relativist…a strangely sentimentalist “pragmatic”.

    Scurfield is dead, and I salute his courage. I also salute the courage of the Kurdish Britons who have gone out to fight ISIL – (by the way Deborah, most are Muslims! There is no necessary relationship between wanting to fight ISIL and seeking to persecute the entire UK Muslim population, as you suggest). And I’m worried about the British Kurdish woman recently arrested at Heathrow when returning from fighting – and now on bail awaiting trial.”

  6. damon said,

    I’ve been a bit of a Deborah Orr fan for a few years now.
    She might not always get everything exactly right, but she puts herself out there in print and takes the brickbats. Or maybe you could just call her a hack, doing her thing to make her living.

    This was an excellent line by Orr though:

    ”Being right is not the same as being righteousness. (Righteousness is usually a quality seen in people who are a pain in the arse.)”

    And there is good reason for there to be a general view against people from the West (or anywhere else really) going off to fight in foreign conflicts.
    Joining the Kurds against Isis may seem pretty clear cut, but how about some other British people joining the Shia militias in Iraq also attacking Isis right now? That’s more problematic as they are so sectarian.
    The same would apply to people going off to join Assad’s forces, or even the so-called moderate opposition now. As things change on the ground and some of the people who joined them ended up switching to Isis.
    Of course this man was brave and selfless, but I read some of his diary in the paper yesterday and he came across as a bit of an adventurer too.
    He said in one post to friends that he was enjoying it.
    Also that there was quite a high turnover of foreign fighters who come for a bit and leave after a couple of months.
    You have to think well of the man though.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Not sure what point you’re tying to make, damon. Whereas Orr is at least clear: “It’s dangerous, to think of anti-Islamism as a righteous cause, or a cause at all. Being against a cause is not a cause in itself.”

      • damon said,

        I suppose I’m just being cautious with the idea of supporting people from the west getting involved in wars overseas.
        It’s often a lot less clear cut. People from outside joined all sides as Yugoslavia broke up. Young men of this dead man’s background may have joined Serb forces because of a shared Orthodox religious identity.
        And of course so many Muslims from around the world went to ”help” fellow Muslims.
        If people want to sacrifice themselves in battle that’s one thing, but if this British citizen had been captured he would have caused a problem for Britain too, who would have had to try to save him if at all possible.
        Though it probably wouldn’t have been possible.
        While Isis have to be defeated, what’s to happen to places that they are driven out of like Tikrit? When they are ”liberated” by Iranian led sectarian militias? You can’t expect too many Sunis being willing to stick around as that happens.
        I’m not really sure what the right thing to do here is.

  7. Jim Denham said,

  8. Rilke said,

    Adorno once said that in the end ‘a modern liberal always ends up as just an unprincipled lout ‘who is afraid to take their own side in an argument..’
    Sums up Orr perfectly. Bet she gets really heated though if some one swears in the office.. .got to get your priorities right!

    • Steven Johnston said,

      She is now calling for Clarkson to be sacked, talk about getting your priorities right indeed!

      • damon said,

        Oh dear. She’s loosing it. Maybe its just an occupational hazard, when you write so widely on different subjects, to deadlines.
        She used to be better I’m sure.

  9. Steven Johnston said,

    Yep, she reminds me of those feminists/women-libbers who support Palestinian nationalism yet ignore the appalling way women are treated in the Palestinian territories.

  10. Rilke said,

    Let us be honest, the term ‘quality literary journalism’ is dead and gone. Even the best (and Orr certainly isn’t) of news print journalists are required to cover such a vast expanse of subject matter coupled to low reading standards, that style, depth and critical logic are nearly always very lacking.
    Most are just shabbby parasites that hang around a media owner’s arsehole.
    Karl Kraus would be the ideal model, at least in terms of style, force and logic, but that kind of writing exists only here and there in isolated corners hidden from the owners and managers of the culture industry. Orr is an employee and so is her writing.

  11. Rosie said,

    I agree that there’s far too much assembly-line opinion creating. Since anyone who writes for a blog and can use google can write as well as most opinionators it’s odd that there is still so much that is paid for when there’s plenty that’s free – some of it very good. I think there is good literary journalism around but as you say it’s infrequent.

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