Actor Michael Enright, whose resume includes Pirates of the Caribbean, walked away from Hollywood to join Kurdish forces in battle against the Islamic State last year, at the age of 51.
It was a remarkable story that didn’t end well, as the Kurds told Enright to go home, and some of his fellow fighters even threatened to kill him… but now he has returned for another round against ISIS.
Enright is well aware of charges that he is just showboating to set up a movie project, or maybe even insane, but he has always insisted his motivation was to fight the evil of Islamist terrorism — first al-Qaeda after 9/11 when he considered enlisting in the U.S. Army, and now ISIS.
As the British-born actor put it, back in May 2015, “For me, the biggest regret of my life was not going to Afghanistan when 9/11 happened. The beheading videos brought out the same kind of feelings in me, and a real sense that I had a duty to America. I really feel a debt to the country. You know, they welcomed me with open arms.”
In a new interview, posted by UK Daily Mail upon his return to Syria, Enright said he keeps video of one particular ISIS atrocity, the immolation of captive Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kassasbeh, on his cell phone to keep himself motivated.
“Somebody has to stand up. Somebody has got to – as we speak right now, little girls are being raped. We should stand up to that,” he said, shortly before returning to Syria.
The UK Express quotes a Facebook post from a fellow fighter in Syria who described Enright as “a mentally unstable actor” who was “in danger of being killed by one of many Westerners and Kurds who want to bury him,” presumably a reference to other citizens from Western nations who have signed up with Kurdish units.
The Huffington Post quotes the same Facebook poster saying, “We have taken the bolt from his AK quote some time ago, so he runs around taking pictures of himself in the rear, saying he killed Daesh with a weapon he can’t even fire.”
The account goes on to say that Enright was kicked out of four different fighting units and asked to leave the field of battle twice by the Kurdish YPG militia and at one point threatened to kill himself if he was sent home.
Enright responded to these allegations by saying, “The only people who have said anything negative were the people I came from the academy, I came over the hill with” — in other words, a group of “four or five guys” who looked down on him, due to his age and acting career.
“Their egos were bruised and they didn’t want me there,” said Enright. “Every single one of them went home. I was the last man standing, because I was determined.”
According to the Evening News from his native Manchester, Enright was “detained for six weeks” when he returned to Hollywood from Syria and was “later questioned by the British police after he was deported home from America.”
Enright said one of the reasons he returned to Syria was because he wants to participate in the “final push” to recapture the Islamic State’s capital city of Raqqa. “I mean, you know, where’s your country now? Where’s your caliphate?” he said, doing a bit of taunting in advance.
He believes his acting career is over, but he doesn’t expect to be a soldier forever.
“No, it’s not going to be the rest of my life because one, either I’m going to die over there fighting this time, so in that case I guess it would be,” said Enright. “If, God willing, I don’t and I make it out then it won’t be a long fight anyway. ISIS is not going to be around in that area very long in my opinion at all.”
The Daily Star notes that another British recruit fighting alongside Kurdish forces, 22-year-old Dean Carl Evans, was killed in Syria last Friday.