I am what many people would consider a typical 23-year-old millennial. I like going to the movies on weekends, going to bars with friends, and playing video games whenever I get some free time during the week. But for 23-year-old student Joanna Palani, life is just a bit more, shall we say, unique.
In the year 2014, Joanna Palani, who is now 23 years old, gave up her political science studies and dropped out of a university in Copenhagen, Denmark. The reason was not because she was lazy, nor was it because she felt college “wasn’t for her.” No, Palani dropped out of school so that she could join the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq and Syria in the fight against the Islamic State.
Granted, Palani didn’t just wake up one morning with a burning desire to go out and fight ISIS. Rather, the inspiration to do so actually came from her heritage and upbringing. Palani is an Iranian-Kurdish descendant who was born in a refugee camp in Iraq. According to a Facebook post, Palani felt compelled “to fight for women’s rights, for democracy – for the European values I learned as a Danish girl.” She was only 9 years old when she fired her first gun.
In 2015, anti-terror laws prohibited Palani from returning to the region, but she rejoined the fight anyway. As she explains, she just “couldn’t bear to leave the women she had trained.” Not only did Palani dedicate hours and even days at a time pointing her sniper rifle at Jihadists, she also helped free Yazidi girls from imprisonment while fighting with Peshmerga forces in Iraq.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Palani described what she did on a day-to-day basis. “As a sniper I could be on the front line for nine days at a time,” she said. “I would get up at 4-5am and get my SVD rifle and AK rifle, my bag and two hand grenades. I would take up a position away from the window, find a space where it would be comfortable, lay down with only my finger on the trigger.”
The 23-year-old sniper faced jail time when the Danish authorities eventually learned about her actions. She was locked up in Denmark’s largest prison, Vestre Faengsel. She was released after three weeks, but now faces future jail time due to her actions. Because many in her homeland view her as a domestic terrorist, Palani is constantly on the move, changing up her living quarters every three days.
As if she wasn’t already badass enough, Palani told the Daily Mail that she has killed 100 Islamic militants, and because of that, there is a $1 million bounty on her head.
“ISIS want to kill me, and capture me to convert me into a radical Islamist or turn me into a sex slave,” she said in the interview. “But I love my independence and freedom as a woman more than I fear being captured or turned into a sex slave by ISIS or for ISIS. My worries about being captured and killed are not as great as my love of freedom. That is what keeps me going.”
“Many of the girls we rescue join us and train to become fighters,” Palani said to begin during her interview. “So if they capture me, I would still fight them, for all of those girls as well as for myself. I will never submit, or let them win.”
Don’t you wish Barack Obama and the Democrat Party had that same mentality? Wouldn’t it be great if they were this courageous in the face of ISIS, and valued freedom as much as this 23-year-old woman does? Joanna Palani may be of Iranian-Kurdish descent, but she sure sounds a lot like a liberty-loving American to me.