My son,
KIA 2/3/2015
Now that some time has passed since Kosta’s death, my family and I have given some thought to his principles and desire to help and have decided that we can’t stand by and do nothing while innocent people continue to die at the hands of ISIS/Daesh/IS/ISIL. 
You must know about their barbarity- I don’t need to elaborate here, just perhaps to say that Daesh continues to sell women and girls into slavery, and execute through beheading, crucifixion and worse. They have a long term, stated plan to spread their ideology and system of government throughout North Africa and Southern Europe and into the UK and elsewhere. They are well resourced and don’t lack money or recruits. Mostly, at the moment they are being held back by the Kurdish people in Iraq and Syria. Coalition forces are supporting the Kurdish people in Iraq, through air strikes and the provision of some weapons, however in Syria, in the region of Rojava where my son was killed, the Kurdish people have much less support. In this region, where some of the worst fighting is happening, the men and women (because there are organised women’s units too as the Kurdish people believe in equality for men and women) only have one blanket between two soldiers, they are not allowed to buy weapons legally even though they have the resources to do so and I am told aid is being repeatedly turned back in Turkey before it can reach them.
Ashley Johnston
KIA Feb 23/2/2015
 
Let’s imagine, for a minute, a world in which these Kurdish people hadn’t mounted a resistance to Daesh. Let’s imagine that Daesh had walked into Northern Syria and completely taken over the area of Rojava and the area of Iraqi Kurdistan. Let’s imagine they had retained the oil producing areas completely and were sitting on all that money.
 
This success would have resonated with many extremists and perhaps been used as propaganda to ‘prove’ that their twisted ideology was good and righteous. This would have lent validity to their claims and increased their resources in terms of money and man power (neither of which they’re currently short of by the way, and you’ve got to ask where they’re getting it from). An increase in fervour and fire, manpower and money means that they would be consolidating their positions and ready and able to move closer to their ultimate goal. Aside from their expansionistic aims their goal is a world in which gay men and women will have been eradicated, women will be limited to their roles as broodmares and carers for men, there would be no music or theatre, no freedom of religious expression, books would be limited to their brand of religious treatises, art and history would be wiped out and, as we saw a group of 13 year old boys executed for playing football, it is clear that there would be no sport
 
The Kurdish people are slowing them down and even pushing them back, however the Kurdish people have few resources and are being obstructed by Western Governments. I am not advocating a boots on the ground approach but I am about to start a peaceful campaign to ask our government to be instrumental in securing UN monitors all along the Turkish-Syrian border and the opening of a humanitarian corridor via Turkey into Rojava, among other things. To this end I have set up a facebook group called Kosta’s Olive Tree and I wish to invite you to join if you are interested in expressing your abhorrence at the atrocities being carried out by this caliphate cult.
 
The very least we can do is continue to support those
still fighting the caliphate cult..
My aim is a good old fashioned letter writing campaign, a petition and a twitter campaign- that’s all, however I am hoping to organise this for maximum impact and to get it all happening within a certain time framework; hopefully June once the new UK government is bedded in. More on this will be posted in the group and on this blog, along with letter formats that people can use to copy and paste into emails etc. so that people would need to do the minimum. My aim is to make it so that the British government can’t ignore the issue any longer and that something is done to protect the people in Kurdistan and especially Rojava, where, uniquely to the Middle East they actively support women’s equality and fight for LGBT rights and where they believe everyone should be allowed to worship who they wish, if they wish and in their own way. Even without the obvious humanitarian need to stop this sort of horrendous atrocity happening the bottom line is that if the Kurdish people stop Daesh they serve all our interests and protect our society, which might be flawed but at least provides hope. It doesn’t matter whether you are British or not, you can still write to your MP and it doesn’t matter which country you live in- please still sign the petition. Please feel free to adapt my letters to write to your own government or your Euro MP as well.