Meet the Brave Beauty Who Quit College to Go Kill ISIS

“ISIS fighters are very easy to kill.”

How did you spend your study abroad in college? In Paris learning French? In Buenos Aires learning to tango? Well, Joanna Palani dropped out of college to go kick some ISIS ass in Syria. 

Palani, 23, was born into an Iranian-Kurdish family in a refugee camp in Iraq. She and her family eventually fled to Copenhagen, Denmark, where she enjoyed a comfortable upbringing. Broadly reports her hobbies included reading and, prophetically, target practice, which she became obsessed with after first firing a rifle at age 9.

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When news first surfaced of the atrocities in Syria, at the hands of ISIS militants and Assad’s hard-line regime, Palani was in college studying philosophy and politics. Fearing the annihilation of the Kurds in Syria, Palani decided to drop out and join the fight against ISIS.

Venturing to Syria in 2014, she trained with the People’s Protection Unit in Syria (the YPG) and then with the Kurdish Peshmerga. One of her greatest victories came in 2015, when she helped liberate a village near Mosul captured by ISIS. This sort of valor runs in her blood as both her father and grandfather were actually also Peshmerga fighters.

In Syria, Palani came face-to-face with the forces tearing apart the region and threatening the Kurds. She learned that Assad’s army, which has reportedly killed 181,000 civilians, was the real threat. ISIS fighters, without the same resources or organization, seemed like sitting ducks by comparison. 

“ISIS fighters are very easy to kill,” Palani told Broadly. “ISIS fighters are very good at sacrificing their own lives, but Assad’s soldiers are very well trained and they are specialist killing machines.”

Regrettably, her budding military career was cut short by the Danish government. “The Peshmerga gave me 15 days off,” Palani said. 

“After arriving in Denmark the police sent me an email after only three days. It said my passport was no longer valid, and would be revoked if I was to attempt to leave the country. If I was to go back I could go to jail for six years.”

Palani is outraged at the Danish government for keeping her in the country and is eager to return to the battlefield. 

For now, this brave beauty is back in school and stays busy posting fire selfies to Instagram.

h/t Broadly