On grammar and radicalisation

No, it's Romani ite domum

No, it’s Romani ite domum

Some snotty-nosed brat in Sydney imagined he could stir up his teachers by writing ISIS R COMING ISIS on his school wall. How important he must feel, now that his infantile prank has hit national headlines.

We at Dodgy Perth naturally deplore his horrendous action. Like the words ‘government’, ‘committee’ and ‘team’, ISIS is a collective and therefore takes the third-person singular form of a verb. The correct graffiti is, therefore, ISIS IS COMING ISIS. Now write that out 100 times before dawn.

Which vaguely reminds us of this for some reason:

Anyway, Dodgy Perth would like to take this opportunity to expose the evil radicalisation that went on in our Perth schools. We refer, of course, to the Scouting movement.

Scouts. Seems all very innocent, doesn’t it? Sitting around a camp fire with a marshmallow on a stick and singing Ging Gang Gooley. But it wasn’t like that a hundred years ago.

In 1915, the Scout movement boasted it was bringing up a generation of boys who were well-drilled, healthy through rigorous training, and “well-disciplined and taught to obey”.

The Western Australian Governor repeated this to the young scouts themselves, reminding them that they should cultivate their intelligence, train their bodies, and to learn the value of “discipline and obedience to command”.

Founder of the Scouts, Baden Powell, recommended that every Australian boy aged between 11 and 14 needed to be prepared for a life to be spent fighting the Chinese and the Japanese invasion. His movement was the ideal place to place to instil self-restraint (read: no playing with your genitals), military training and sense of duty.

The problem, said Baden Powell, was that Australian youth were spirited and self-reliant, so action was needed now otherwise there was a risk of bringing up a nation of boys able to think for themselves. And these kids would not make obedient soldiers come the inevitable Asian invasion.

Dodgy Perth would also like to remind readers that during the Nuremburg Trials, the creator of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach, boasted that all of his ideas came straight from the Scouting movement. And it’s not hard to see this was true.

So before we get too excited about radicalisation, let’s remember that someone has always tried to mould kids into their image. And kids, being kids, have always ignored them.

Child soldiers

Private Leslie Shaw, 1940

Private Leslie Shaw, 1940

To the media,

Please stop assuming that all young Australians who run away to join ISIS have been brainwashed. Teenagers (in particular boys) have always sought adventure overseas, and have rarely understood the full implications of what they were getting themselves into.

Also, dear journalists, stop with the overuse of the word ‘radicalised’. It’s not a thing.

So, today Dodgy Perth presents the story of Captain Leslie Shaw, who signed up to be an Anzac at the age of just thirteen.

Born a Kiwi, Leslie served as a sapper in the First Field Company, New Zealand Engineers. He was present at the landing on Gallipoli and also at the Suvla attack.

After Gallipoli he went to the trenches in France, taking part in the Battle of Messines and the Third Battle of Ypres, in 1917.

Then, at the ripe age of 17 years, tiring of a foot-slogger’s existence, and anxious to join the Air Force, he disclosed his real age and was discharged from the Amy. This after some years on active service.

After the war Leslie served with the Air Force in India, before retiring to take up a tea plantation.

Bored of tea, he joined the flying service in New Guinea, being one of the first to fly in that service.

Finally ‘retiring’ to Perth, he became a broadcaster with radio station 6AM, and his talks on aviation became one of its most popular shows.

But even then, Leslie wasn’t finished. When WWII broke out, he was still young enough to enlist as a private, again in the Army, and undertook his basic training at Claremont.

Do you really believe that at the age of thirteen Leslie could have fully understood what he was getting himself into at Gallipoli and in the French trenches? Of course not. He wanted adventure, and he wanted to serve his country.

Dodgy Perth does not mean to equate joining ISIS with being an Anzac. One of these organisations is evidently not a good thing.

However, sometimes boys will be boys, and it doesn’t always require them to be ‘radicalised’ before they seek thrills and escapades in foreign lands.