With the rise of ISIS remaining largely unchallenged by militias under international government training, everyday citizens are lending their support to the war-torn Middle East now more than ever.
Take Matthew VanDyke, for example.
VanDyke is possibly the most interesting, most badass man alive. From 2007 to 2011, he motor-biked across North Africa and the Middle East. He visited Bin Laden’s home. And he’s an escaped POW.
In 2013, the American filmmaker was documenting the fight against the Gaddafi regime in Lybia when he decided to put the camera down and pick up a gun. When his two good friends and fellow journalists, James Foley and Steven Sutloff, were captured and beheaded on camera by ISIS in 2014, he decided to make bringing the fight to the terrorists his new full-time job.
VanDyke founded Sons of Liberty International (SOLI), a worldwide security firm with the goal of bringing training and hope to the parts of the world that are defenseless to the spread of terrorism.
So far, SOLI has trained hundreds of militiamen in Iraq, who he says lacked not the heart to fight ISIS, but the knowledge of battlefield X’s and O’s. SOLI and VanDyke have worked hands-on with the Nineveh Plain Protection Units, as wells as with the Christian Assyrians, who the Kurds and Arabs refuse to assist due to their non-Muslim religion. The organization also plays a humanitarian role, providing services such as passing out Christmas presents to the Assyrians.
SOLI trains with an emphasis on taking back cities house by house, street by street, so the people can resume living there after the terrorists have been driven out. This is unlike most countries overrun by terrorist regimes, which opt to bomb their homelands into ruin.
While the fight against ISIS has just begun, VanDyke plans to continue SOLI long afterwards. Wherever there are people unaided and unable to defend themselves, that’s where they will try to be..
Image via YouTube