People have many opportunities to take a gap year away from their studies. Some use it to travel around Europe or rescuing Polar bears from sinking ice flows. Others follow a more 'radical path'. UnNews's reporter-at-large-on-a-comfy-retainer spoke to some of these students who choose to go to Syria and fight for Al Qaeda or Islamic State.
Our correspondent Cypher Bogan (not his real name) interviewed two students from the USA who were in the country. We will refer to them as 'SB' and 'MT' with Cypher Bogan as 'CB' to add to the suspense and apparent authenticity of this article.
CB: I understand that you have both had a really bad gap year. Could you tell me about this? First you, SB.
MT: Hold on, women are supposed to wait their turn and her story is only half as good as mine.
SB: Ha! You pissed off as soon as things got difficult. I hung out longer than you did.
MT: You jumped ship, too. Easy for you, those dumb Kurds don't just line everybody up and shoot them, they let the women and children get out.
CB: If we could return to your experiences, please. All right MT, you can go first.
MT: You see, I wasn't doing any harm, just showing my fellow jihadis how to cook. In this picture I'm about to demonstrate the best way to chop a head of cabbage to make some cole slaw. It's really easy, I could show you but they took away my paring knife.
CB: Glad to hear that MT. And how about the AK-47 in this other picture?
MT: Yeah, that was just some dress-up that me and my bros got up to once. You know, we got a little - um - disoriented and took pictures of each other. All we were doing was having a bit of fun. Well, that was one of the things that we had to do. I didn't mind at first, I even got into the spirit of the thing and went on about all that beheading and stuff that was so popular at the time.
CB: So you became disillusioned with the way your mates were doing things?
MT: Yeah, that's it. The whole adventure thing was really exciting at first, telling people what to do, killing them - I mean showing them the error of their ways if they didn't do it.
CB: And of course there was the fighting and successive defeats of your fellow jihadis.
MT: That's true, we weren't allowed to learn about life by peacefully ruling some territory that didn't have the correct way of thinking about things. People can be so ungrateful when you try to purify their lives.
CB: And what do you feel went wrong with your gap year, SB?
SB: I thought you would never ask. It was really a gap life, one of those that you fall into and gradually realize that the advertisements weren't really telling the whole story. As MT said, the beheadings were fun, but having a bunch of unbelievers chasing you all over the countryside doesn't give you much time to reflect on the holiness of your life. I didn't mind posing with an AK-47, but having them fired at you can be stressful. Don't get me wrong, I was really serious, unlike this wimp who only talked tough. It's just that every time we were told that some heavenly host would turn up to drive away the infidel, it was a big no-show. Let me tell you, this is a bummer. You've been built up to expect a light show to more clearly display the torment and death of your enemies and you end up breathing dust and dodging bullets and shrapnel. I mean human shields? I couldn't get one to stand in front of me.
CB: So now you're both trying to recover from the disappointment of having your gap years ruined?
MT: We sure are. Here I am stuck in the crummy prison wondering how I can get out of this shithole country and maybe have a life. You know, get married, settle down. Why I couldn't even buy a decent wife in Syria. The hot ones were snapped up by the jihadis with ready cash. I'm sure you can imagine how unfair that is.
SB: I would say it's all the fault of the USA, supporting those Kurds. What would the Kurds know about oppression? I'd love to go back to my home country, raise my little baby there in a decent society where it could learn about the corruption of the world and how to fight against it by killing people. I mean forget the bag on my head for a moment and imagine how I must feel. No more beheadings, no more waving knives and guns around in my selfies and telling girls who don't have bags on their heads how they're going to be lucky if they get to be sex slaves. No, my message doesn't seem to be welcome, even here where I'm stuck in a detention center with all of these other jihadi wives and their brats.
CB: I thank you both for your stories and hope that you can recover from these disheartening experiences. Next week I'll be investigating the plight of neo-Nazis in liberal societies. Until then, keep liking me on social media and clicking on those ads.
SB: Do those neo-Nazis really want to kill all the Jews?
Further conversation became impossible when a drone attack warning was sounded.