ON MONDAY morning came the devastating news that an Italian YPG volunteer, Lorenzo “Orso” Orsetti, had been killed by an Isis ambush in Baghouz, the small town on the Deir Ezzor front where the remnants of the Isis caliphate are surrounded.
Orsetti, also known by his nom-de-guerre Tekoser Piling, had been in northern Syria since September 2017 when he travelled from his hometown in Florence, Tuscany to defend the revolution in Rojava led by the Kurds in northern Syria, one he described as “the most beautiful revolution in the world,” “the closest thing I’ve ever found to my ideals and it is a pleasure and an honour to take part.”Clarifying his motivation for taking up arms in Rojava, he said that it wasn’t because he liked war or wanted fame, that he didn’t have any mystifications or delusions, simply that “freedom cannot exist without taking risks.”
According to countless stories, Orso (“bear” in Italian) was an incredibly brave and selfless fighter, and whilst he always impressed on friends and comrades the need to act in an altruistic manner in his dispatches from the front line, he never boasted or exalted his own activity.
He never even told people how, whilst fighting in the hills of Afrin against the Turkish/FSA invasion in spring 2018, with defeat in sight, he refused to be evacuated with the rest of his internationalist unit, insisting on staying with the civilians to defend them from the invasion at huge risk to himself until civilians themselves were evacuated.
Fighting in the hills of Afrin in incredibly difficult conditions surrounded by jihadists and bombarded day and night by Turkey’s air force (equipped by both Britain and Italy), his dispatches from the front line sounded like epic tales of guerilla warfare from the partisan resistance, swapping the olive tree-filled mountains between Florence and Bologna for those of the north-west Syrian Kurdish enclave.
Orso came from a very ordinary family in Rifredi, a working-class neighbourhood in Florence filled with monuments and plaques to the anti-fascist partisans, many of whom hailed from the area in which he grew up. Bored by successive menial service jobs, mainly as a waiter and chef, he looked to Rojava as an escape from the drudgery and trappings of individualistic capitalist society. Continue reading “Orso killed by ISIS.. But Lives Always in our Hearts”