Michael Enright, who left a career in acting in 2015 to join Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State, did something pretty awesome after the liberation of Raqqa.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, during an interview with a Kurdish news agency, Enright, who’s from Manchester, England, played Ariana Grande’s "Bang Bang" on his phone:
This is the center of Raqqa, where they had the big procession, ISIS had the big procession. ... Well, we took it now; it’s liberated; all of Raqqa is liberated. Over here on this fence is where they killed people, they butchered people, they took their heads off and they put them on those spikes. Over here is a music shop. In the music shop, they pulled out everything that was there and they burned it because they didn’t want their voices — they didn’t allow singing.
And so I thought it apropos ‘cause I’m from Manchester, and they came to my city, my city, and they tried to shut up Ariana Grande, that she should be the first one to sing [Bang Bang plays on Enright’s phone].
So you didn’t shut her up, and you didn’t shut Manchester up because she’s singing "Bang Bang," and you know what happened? I came, and we did bang bang, and you left, you ran away. And so, light is coming back here now, freedom is coming back here now, and singing is coming back, and Ariana, it’s your first concert here.
Enright choked up a bit when he spoke about performing magic tricks for children that had been forced to witness Islamic State atrocities:
... children can’t understand words, but what they can understand is if you’re nice. I remember when I was five, I didn’t know — I couldn’t follow a conversation, but I knew who was nice. So, I did the magic tricks for the babies and for the children, and they go like this [makes face of joy], because I want them to smile and because I want them to see there’s a difference between [long pause] between honorable men, between men who care for other people, and these butchers, these evil demon worshippers.
The entire interview is quite powerful and well worth a watch: