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Two young men from two different worlds travel to the same foreign warzone to fight on opposing sides. One fights for ISIS, one for the Kurds. Who will survive?Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed https://pszr.co/YLShB
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A young Libyan teenager, radicalized by a brutal adolescence, finds himself at the sharp end of ISIS’ campaign to conquer Syrian Kurdistan.
Meanwhile, a young Australian man in search of a struggle, boards a plane to the Middle East.
Both will learn the truth about the war they seek. But will that truth destroy them?
Do you ever imagine what leads foreigners to fight in terrorist conflicts? How can an Australian go and join such an effort? Are they radicalised? What motivates them?
The Novel Mujahid
The conflict in Eastern Syria between the YPG and ISIS forms the backdrop of the novel Mujahid – and the story of two foreigners – one fighting with the jihadists and one fighting with the Kurds – is the novel’s focus.
The novel follows the story of two young men on opposing sides of a terrible conflict that the world finds difficult to comprehend and reveals their motivations and psychologocial drives, which lead inexorably to a final confrontation.
It’s gripping. It’s sinister. It’s compelling.
While the subject and themes of this novel will always have an appeal with a male audience of all ages, the character exploration touches on common themes across humanity – including love, loss and the search for meaning.
The presence of strong female characters and the exploration of women’s issues in the Middle East will keep female readers interested. Readers of the classics and lovers of good literature will find something here, even if they haven’t previously dipped into the war fiction genre.
Chris Elliott is a Canadian-Australian anthropologist with a background in the Australian military and he has consulted for government on issues related to counter-terrorism in Mali and in Yemen.
Publicly, he has done quite a bit of freelancing for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (writer's profile here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/c-august-elliott/6276074) where he has written opinion and analysis pieces on topics related to foreign policy, terrorism and jihadism.
Chris has also had various travel pieces published in several different publications. (eg. Alpinist, Mountain Life, and the Sydney Morning Herald.)
He is serious about developing his writing career further and has many writing projects in mind.
Chris is articulate and knowledgeable on his subject matter and other passions, and would be a very marketable asset for any publisher. This is not just a one-off novel, but rather a debut in what I can see will be many books to come in a lucrative writing career.
If interested in discussing him and a possible publishing opportunity with your company please contact me, as his agent. [email protected]
Chris is a Canadian-Australian anthropologist with a background in the Australian military and he's consulted for government on issues related to counter-terrorism in Mali and in Yemen.
In the past, he has had some input into similar kinds of operations to the one that occurred in Yakla a few weeks ago and the outcome (especially as it relates to CIVCAS) of this recent raid evoked a strong enough response that he felt compelled to write a fictionalised account of it.
Publicly, he's done quite a bit of freelancing for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (writer's profile here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/c-august-elliott/6276074 where he's written opinion and analysis pieces on topics related to foreign policy, terrorism and jihadism.
Recently he was involved in assisting the reporters in the Four Corners expose of possible war crimes by Special Forces troops.
He writes for a number of magazines, including The Alpinist (on skiing) and maintains a blog at: https://caugustelliott.com
He also maintains a very active Twitter account here: @CAugustElliott
He is a most articulate, intelligent young man and would be an asset to any publisher who might consider publishing this novel, as he writes prolifically (he has written many short stories as well as articles) and has a bright future as a writer.
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Heval “Al-Australi”, an Australian fighting with a Kurdish militia, at a funeral procession for fallen martyrs:
“At once, the Australian realised that if he too was killed in battle, a crowd like this would sing songs about him as well. It was pleasant to think it. That the Kurds valued the sacrifices of a foreigner enough to make music to his memory. And yet. And yet. All the same… a darker, grimmer thought flitted across his mind. There was a wretchedness – a uselessness – to that crooning too. Sing as they might, if he died on the battlefield, he wouldn’t be here to hear the songs they would sing about him. The dead martyrs in their coffins couldn’t hear the wails of the women nor the mournful song rising up from the procession. Neither could they hear the shouts of the men trailing behind the corpse-boxes nor see the tears of the pall-bearers, glistening wet between cheek and casket wood. The martyrs would never know that the sky was grey instead of sunny on the day that they were given their send off into the afterlife. They’d never know any of this because they – the martyrs – were already dead. Gone. Gatted. Good for nothing now. Ready for interment and that was it.
He definitely felt glum now so he put these negative thoughts out of his mind and tried instead to think about the heroism at the heart of it all. Just as he had been taught – on Anzac Day vigils as much as now.”
Hamud, an ISIS fighter, after beheading a Kurdish prisoner:
“Somewhere inside, he felt sickened by what he had done and surprised that it was he who had done it. Really, a part of him felt like he had not done it – that he had merely spectated, stepped out of himself for a moment – looked on and watched - like he had watched the mujahid next to him, so vigorous in his efforts. And suddenly all he wanted was for that tongue, instead of lolling out from the corner of the mouth, to retract back behind those lips and for the mouth, agape, to shut; to close forever and for the eyes, shocked and strickened, to shroud over as he used to think a dead man’s eyes shrouded before he had seen his first dead man. He wanted the head to look away from him, or at least to look like it was at peace – anything but this garish nightmare before him. He felt himself beginning to retch now. He knew that he had to turn away. So he placed the head on the corpse’s back, between the shoulder blades, and stepped away from the murder and wiped the blade of the serrated knife on his black shirtsleeves.
Heval “Al-Australi” reflecting on the broken relationships he left behind at home:
“Alone now, for the first time since having crossed the border he couldn’t help but think about home and about her.
He wondered what she was doing. Sitting in the cool of the lounge room with the shutters pulled shut while the summer sun blazed over the streets outside. Maybe she’d have headed down to the beach with her friends and she was sitting under an umbrella with her toes in the sand and a book in her hand. He wondered what she was doing and wondered if she was thinking about what he was doing and wondered if she missed him and wondered what she’d say if she knew what he was doing – where he was, who he was with, why he had come here, and what he had come here to do.
“I just don’t understand.”
That’s what she’d have said.
And he’d have said back something like “I know you don’t understand” even if he knew beforehand that he’d regret it as soon as he said it.
And in response to that she would have said nothing and instead gone quiet in the way that she did.
And watching her mood sour, he’d have held on until the silence became just too much – until finally he broke and asked her if she was mad at him.
“I’m not mad,” she’d have said. “I’m just sad.”
And he’d have said “I’m sorry” to which she would have replied “I know – but I still don’t understand”… and around it would go again.
On their last morning together, he had lain with his back to her staring out the window while she nestled in close and wrapped her arm around his naked chest. She’d mumbled something loving in the half-sleep of first daylight but he hadn’t heard what she’d said, because he was listening to the sound of the birds outside. The bedroom window was open an inch at the pane and it backed onto a nature reserve. You could hear a pair of magpies, sounding out the morning’s tidings on the crisp autumn air. The whip-crack-lash of the whip bird, reverberating through the trees. The scrabble of a brush turkey’s claws on the leafy ground as the daybreak’s first breeze whistled between the eucalyptus leaves.
“This is nice,” she’d mumbled.
That was the last morning they’d spent together, in each other’s arms. They’d been distant for a while, and nearly separated half a dozen times before then. But it wasn’t until that morning, when he’d told her he wanted to go solo travelling around the world, and he didn’t know when he would be ready to return that she’d become still and cold and he’d touched her naked shoulder and her skin felt cold as mountain granite and she’d said nothing else except asked him quite seriously whether he thought she would ever be enough for him.
And of course, she’d known the answer before she’d asked the question but she’d asked it anyway, even though she knew she wouldn’t like the answer when he gave it to her. So he gave her the answer, knowing full well that she wouldn’t like the answer but knowing also that if he’d said to her “yes, yes of course you’re enough”, that she would know that not to be the truth.
Because the truth was, she was not enough, and he knew it and she knew it too. He needed something more than just a payment plan on a new car and a shift job and a mortgage and two kids, ages five and seven, when he was only thirty-two. She wanted security and a normal life. He didn’t necessarily want security and he certainly didn’t want normalcy. Truth was, he didn’t know what he wanted – he only knew what he didn’t want – and that was why he had to go away for a while – so he could find out exactly what it was that he wanted.
“I’m sorry,” he’d said. He always said that.
On that last morning together, when they’d said what needed to be said and he finally did roll over and wrap an arm around her, he knew that it was her that he wanted. But there was something else that he wanted as well – something which she could not give to him, for all the good that might have done if she could.
And the last time she had seen him, she had said goodbye and given him a hug and it was the same embrace she had always given him, even though she had turned away when he had gone in to kiss her. But he knew she would be there when he finally did return. It was always better when you hadn’t seen each other in a while. You were new to each other again and that newness was good. In a lifetime of together, you could get to know the thing and love the thing, then grow tired of the thing, then dread the thing and then, leaving the thing for a while, in search of newer, stranger things, you could return to the thing anew and it would be as if one was finding the thing for the first time. This was how he felt about her – and about them. He would love her more than ever – if only he could just leave her…”
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