Don't Mention the War!

A guest post by Audrey Apple

From today’s The Advertiser:

Holocaust glossed over

“London: British schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a government-backed study has shown.

The study found some teachers were reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs included Holocaust denial.

There was also resistance to tackling the 11th century religious Crusade.”

(For a more detailed story, go here

Honestly, what rot.

That some history teachers could be hesitant to teach something so monumentally important as the Holocaust out of a misguided nod towards political correctness is unfortunately exactly the sort of thing that strengthens the rabid conservative backlash against Islam and all its practitioners.

Aside from being completely vulgar in its ignorance of the necessity to teach history whether it be pleasant or not, it insults the intelligence of Muslims because it treats them as a people so violently opposed to truth outside of Islam that they must be pussyfooted around.

I have no doubt that teachers of this ilk are in the vast minority in Britain – but it only take a few to ink the pens of the thousands of mouth-frothing hatemongers out there intent on using anything they can to perpetuate suspicion towards Islamic folk.

So….word up En Masse Basil. You ain’t helping.

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Posted in education, media, politics, religion
68 comments on “Don't Mention the War!
  1. Brian says:

    Honestly, if students beliefs include Holocaust denial then it is the duty of schools to upset them (the beliefs, that is, and if necessary the students).

  2. Pavlov's Cat says:

    whose beliefs included Holocaust denial

    What looks at first glance like utter failure to tell the difference between opinions and facts turns into something a bit different in the linked article, where they explain that teachers are just trying to avoid classroom riots.
    Frankly I can’t blame them for that.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t remember being ‘taught’ the Holocaust as such at any point in my own schooling. The Diary of Anne Frank was as close as we got. Something like that is well entrenched and documented in the culture and is knowledge that can’t actually be avoided.

  3. SG says:

    It’s not April Fool’s Day. Why are you publishing a crock of shit from the Daily Mail with commentary like it’s serious? If you know anything about English newspapers you know that nothing this rag publishes is true. This is the same tabloid Murdoch rubbish that claim Gypsies are going to take over British land, that Eastern Europeans with HIV are swamping the NHS, and all the other right-wing rot that the deferential tory working class suck up because it suits their racist ideology. If you read this in the Terrorgraph you wouldn’t give it the time of day. The Daily Mail is a million times worse, as only the gutter press in the UK can be. It’s the sort of newspaper that would publish the protocols of the Elders of Zion as serious news if Jews were the Public Enemy of the day.

    Sheesh.

  4. wbb says:

    Yes, this newspaper article is a crock. Some teacher at some school in England has stopped talking about the Holocaust because the teacher couldn’t cope with the emotional barney that ensued is turned into “British schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils.” The story here is the slanted reporting.

  5. I’m deadly earnest about making holocaust denial a crime. All holocaust denial – all the time. With the vital proviso that the size and power of the state continue to decline then some strategic increase in one tactic may be rationally argued.
    Even by libertarian-socialists.
    IANAL but a well crafted law would not only catch the obvious rotten apples such as Keith Windshuttle but also shut up some of those holmodor denialists in the red fascist movements.
    Free speech is not an absolute and just as individuals have the right to self-defence so do communities. When communities get the far right and left fash out then politics should be less of a chore and more fun for all.
    Doncha reckon?

  6. Adam Gall says:

    There are so many threads tied up in this issue. I mean, it’s got everything it needs as a microcosm of the culture wars: media sensationalism, cowering ‘PC’ educators, Muslims, Holocaust denial.

  7. SG says:

    Adam you missed on essential component: left wing “activists” who are so sensitive to people on their own side of the culture wars being shown to be anti-semitic that they jump in terror when they read about it, and give credence to media outlets they would otherwise not piss on if they were on fire. I believe this happened at LP one time before, with the “leftist students are anti-semitic” article from a conservative media outlet which was debunked by someone who was actually at the rally, but still treated as serious by half the commenters.

    Really, it’s not a helpful response.

  8. Evan says:

    Hmmm. Define “helpful”.

    I agree that it’s probably a beat-up from one incident in one school, but so what?

    If talking about the murder of several million people is going to upset some group in the community, however large or small, I say stuff ’em.

    The sad fact is that it happened. And it happened to Jews, Gypsies, Lefties and Gays.

    If there had been substantial Muslim communities living in Europe in the late 1930s and ’40s, no doubt it would have happened to them too. But there weren’t and it didn’t.

    Stifling discussion of the subject is an insult to those who died.

  9. Katz says:

    I like this bit:

    The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history ‘as a vehicle for promoting political correctness’.

    Does the Daily Mail have a gimp in a cupboard who is tortured until he says “History teaching is a vehicle for promoting political correctness?”

    I wonder how “balanced” are the lessons in various Northern Irish schools about events surrounding the Battle of the Boyne. British school authorities have had much longer to get that part of the curriculum right, but haven’t done so in, let’s see, 428 years.

    What does the Daily Mail Gimp have to say about that?

    “There are some issues very precious to the sense of identity of important groups in our community. It would be irresponsible to stir up controversy by challenging them.”

    Thanks Gimp. Back in the cupboard now.

  10. Adam Gall says:

    Lol, Katz. That poor fellow – except I think he likes it!

  11. Another ‘beat up’, as most MSM actually is.
    The Daily Mail was founded with the intention of giving The Middle Class what it wanted to read.
    Journalism is The Universal Enemy.
    Ignore it (do not buy The Idea Day, do not watch ACA) and it will go away?

  12. audrey says:

    I have no doubt that teachers of this ilk are in the vast minority in Britain – but it only take a few to ink the pens of the thousands of mouth-frothing hatemongers out there intent on using anything they can to perpetuate suspicion towards Islamic folk.

    I already said it was probably a vast minority. It may even be a beat up by the paper. The problem, as you well know, is that a paper doesn’t have to be reliable for it to be believed.

    As far as avoiding riots…I guess I can understand that, but really – if you don’t want to teach the truth out of some overblown desire to protect yourself (if indeed you have to) then you really shouldn’t be a teacher.

  13. Tim Macknay says:

    Meanwhile, back in Australia…

    Canberra: Australian schools are dropping teaching the violent dispossession of Aboriginal people from history lessons to avoid offending conservative white pupils, a study has shown.

    The study showed some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting some students whose beliefs include denial that Aborigines were dispossessed.

    There was also resistance to tackling the White Australia policy.

    The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history “as a vehicle for teaching right-wing political correctness”.

    In response to the claims, a spokesperson for the Federal Education Minister said: “There are some issues very precious to the sense of identity of important groups in our community. It would be irresponsible to stir up controversy by challenging them.â€?

  14. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Maybe it’s not themselves they want to protect. Anyone who has done more than ten years’ hard graft in a high school classroom will tell you that the contemporary reality doesn’t bear thinking about in most places, and that simply keeping order and preventing violence has become a top classroom priority. In most schools in Britain with a high proportion of immigrant and/or disadvantaged students with, erm, competing world views, I think you could safely triple the risk they pose to themselves, each other, and any unfortunate staff who would feel obliged to intervene.

  15. FaceLift says:

    I’ve never understood the logic behind so-called ‘political correctness’ in schools. Even if it were true that the history of the Holocaust was dropped to not offend Muslims, by the same reasoning, it should be included so as not to offend Jews.

    Since when was it reasonable to drop history, festivals, and facts because they might offend somebody! Madness!

  16. FaceLift says:

    PC,

    simply keeping order and preventing violence has become a top classroom priority

    Is that a fact? And what tools do teachers have to aid them with this enterprise?

    Some RW Conservatives would have argued years ago that if you remove discipline and thus diminish the authority of teachers the outcome will be disorder and disrespect. Perhaos this is what we’re seeing. Not that rod should necessarily be an option, but teachers need some means of creating and maintaining order so that pupils can actually be in a learning environment and we can begin to improve literacy levels, which are reportedly dropping. How are teachers tackling this problem?

  17. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Or guns! We could give them guns!

    FaceLift, get real. It’s the 21st century. Going backwards isn’t an option.

  18. FaceLift says:

    PC, I was responding to your comment! According to your data we are already going backwards in the area of discipline, and therefore in the ability to teach, and figures support your conclusion! And defence weapons, although not guns, may actually become an option in some schools if we’re not able to slow down students who want to use violence as a means to disrupt classes – weapons in the possession of security guards of course. I stated that I don’t think the rod is necessarily an option, although some kind of deterrant could be considered – what, I don’t know. In view of this, and your claims, my question was, how are teachers and authorities proposing to deal with disciplinary problems? And how serious are these problems in reality?

  19. The Devil Drink says:

    Give ’em all 10mg of Ritalin with breakfast, I say, and ignore them while they’re pulling cones during recess.

  20. j_p_z says:

    Pavlov’s Cat: “In most schools in Britain with a high proportion of immigrant and/or disadvantaged students with, erm, competing world views, I think you could safely triple the risk they pose to themselves, each other, and any unfortunate staff…”

    Wry chuckle. See two other recent threads.

    Disciplinary problems and inter-ethnic violence in schools with such qualities are of course nothing new; hell, I could tell you some interesting stories, as could my elders. But scale, people, scale. Scale, scale, scale.

    The designers of current policies on multiculturalism and mass-immigration understand scale and proportion so well, they could be put to work designing Stonehenge props for Spinal Tap.

  21. John Greenfield says:

    There is no doubt that Britain is racing back to medieval period. Multiculti will explode there first. Even before France!

  22. I spent two years teaching in London (1999 and 2000) in some of the area’s worst schools, which I wrote about here. Everything PC says is spot on. And while I never encountered holocaust denial (I’m a PE teacher, remember), I certainly encountered anti-semitism from students of various stripes – mainly Muslim but others as well.

    I suspect anti-semitism’s more common generally in Europe than in Australia, operating as a grumpy sort of undertone in the wider culture. A notable example from my personal experience included being invited to a Spurs-West Ham game by my students (loud West Ham supporters) and seeing the ghastly spectacle of my own students yelling things like ‘Spurs are off to Auschwitz na na na na na’ and so on. (For those unfamiliar with the British Isles, Tottenham Hotspur is reputed to have many Jewish supporters).

  23. Of course if you make state cultural policy a licence to “tolerate the intolerant” you are boundf to get peridodic outbreaks of diverse cultural barbarisms – voodoo, Holocaust denial, consanguinuity, polygamy, enfibulation. Only a fool or knave would feign profess otherwise.

    So long as our self-proclaimed “defenders of freedom” mindlessly promote ethnic identity and diversity politics then we are bound to constrain freedom. As Robert Putnam, the world expert on cultural pluralism and a left-liberal to boot, has admitted:

    In the presence of diversity, we hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.

    The only civil antidote to this is a selective immigration and integrative settlement. This means promoting a cultural policy of civic nationalism. But this sounds too close to Nazism for some of our more neurotically sensitive liberal souls.

    The Great Liberal Death Wishers would rather turn the constitution into a suicide note for their own civilization.

    So let the heavens fall, just so long as we can “celebrate diversity!”.

  24. Fiasco da Gama, Knight Errant, Order of the Knave says:

    Only a fool or knave would feign profess otherwise.

    I’ll have a bit of that, Jack. Consanguinity, your hoity-toity word for what the rest of us call inbreeding—right?—is a marker of intolerant, closed, non-diverse populations, not the reverse. It’s a feature of places like Pitcairn Island, not London.
    If you want to stop cousins fucking, increase immigration, domestic population movements and social mobility.
    Skepticlawyer, you should try a Rangers and Celtic game at home in Glasgow.

    Hullo! Hullo!
    We are the Billy Boys!
    Hullo! Hullo!
    You’ll know us by our noise!
    We’re up to our knees in Fenian blood,
    Surrender or you’ll die!
    For we are the Bridgeton Billy Boys.

    Etcetera.

  25. Spiros says:

    ” the ghastly spectacle of my own students yelling things like ‘Spurs are off to Auschwitz na na na na na’ and so on. (For those unfamiliar with the British Isles, Tottenham Hotspur is reputed to have many Jewish supporters). ”

    They might have just been following the lead of Australian goal keeper Mark Bosnich, who once famously gave a Nazi salute to Spurs fans.

    Of course, English soccer fans will say and do just about anything. It is not uncommon for them to throw bananas from the stands at black players, while making making monkey noises. (Because blacks = apes.)

  26. Fiasco da Gama says:

    Real Madrid were recently censured by FIFA for their fans’ identical behaviour playing against Bayern Leverkusen, Spiros.
    And if we’re getting into football, let’s not forget Lazio’s own in-goal fascist, Paolo Di Canio.

  27. audrey apple says:

    I appreciate that there may be a violence problem in some schools, and that teachers may be at a loss to know what to do and how to control them. I even appreciate that, given this inability to control violence, some may be inclined not to ‘stir the pot’ as it were in order to avoid a riot.

    However, these facts remain:

    1. When we’ve reached the stage where the above is accepted as reality, if not necessary ‘acceptable’, then what’s the point of teaching people at all? Clearly, there are some fundamental things that need to be learnt before any intellectual learning can take place.
    2. How do we address the increasing levels of children responding to things they don’t like by beating the crap out of them? This shouldn’t be normal behaviour but obviously it is!
    3. By pandering to the notion that some topics should be avoided, you give power to violence as a deterrant to diversity and acceptance. Therefore, if teaching has become a violent profession, teachers clearly need to be tough as rock to tackle it, not ignore it and hope it will go away.

    As utterly terrible as it is to say, sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t benefit the world to go back to the 1950s….*

    *I don’t really wish this OBVS but I’m at a loss to know how we make the world un-fudged.

  28. j_p_z says:

    Ah, the joys of soccer.

    Sounds like you guys could *really* use some nice, pretty cheerleaders. And a marching band! Playing a comically souped-up brass version of “Psycho Killer” at half-time! And a color guard! And some funny mascots, dressed in oversize hilarious costume heads, capering about! That’d calm yez down.

    Eh, fuck it, just give it up and start playing *real* football… 🙂

  29. Fiasco da Gama, Keeping Wide On The Left Wing, Crossing Centre says:

    Ah, the joys of soccer.

    Working class ballet, as Alf Garnett said.

  30. FDB says:

    Fiasco, Di Canio is not a goalie.

    JPZ – take off the wussy padding and play a REAL real game of football. Like, maybe one where more than one player uses his feet?

    Just sayin’…

  31. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Audrey, I wasn’t advocating it for a minute, just saying it’s how things are — and that it’s unfair to teachers to pile yet more expectation on them, particularly in the light of the derisory amount they get paid.

    The other thing of course, and here I speak from personal teaching experience albeit in a university, is that people believe what they want to believe, and no amount of patient classroom instruction/persuasion can budge prejudices already ingrained at home.

    This applies to any set of beliefs you care to name, from ‘If you get pregnant he’ll have to marry you and then you’ll be set for life’ (still a popular belief despite the massive evidence to the contrary) to ‘The [insert name of scapegoat here] is/are unclean and must be exterminated by force.’

  32. Another Kim says:

    JPZ…

    when will you learn that you’re just too nice?

    Our fault. Mea culpa and let’s get over it.

  33. dj says:

    As “Mussolini’s team”, Lazio are renowned for having a large group of fascist supporters.

    I hardly see how US sports fans are any better than West Ham or Chelsea yoiks – they have riots when they win!

  34. audrey apple says:

    Dr Cat, from previous posts you know I’m on the side of the teachers 🙂

    What I failed to articulate in my previous comment was the fact that teachers are expected to bear so much of the burden on educating children these days – and that a lot of this education for more basic fundamentals of being a human being should come from the home.

    This is of course entirely redundant when that education preaches intolerance and hatred (regardless of which side of the cultural spectrum you’re from).

    I think we political correctness does often swing too far towards the ridiculous, so that it sometimes negates all of the good things it protects. Public liability has also destroyed the world. Obviously socio-economic factors have divided people and poor people often get negatively stereotyped and this can lead to a negative cycle etc etc (not that I think rich people are any less likely to be violent/criminals/human turds) – but it’s compounding the problem rather than working towards a meaningful solution.

    In short, I agree – teachers have too much to bear with very little reward. But the issue itself is complex and clearly avoiding triggers can only act as a bandaid solution.

  35. PeterTB says:

    If there had been substantial Muslim communities living in Europe in the late 1930s and ’40s, no doubt it would have happened to them too. But there weren’t and it didn’t

    I don’t think so Evan. Too much in common.

  36. Adam Gall says:

    The cleverest thing that Zionists and Islamic fundamentalists ever achieved together (yes, together and in spite of themselves) was to cleave Jews and Muslims apart before they had a chance to recognise their commonalities in terms of religion, their treatment by Europeans (on the one hand anti-semitism and the Holocaust, on the other colonisation, imperialism and recent complicity with Middle Eastern dictators).

    Surely the alignment of the Palestinian Mufti with Nazism that you cite PeterTB was a strategic, and certainly misguided, response to Zionist insurgency and British complacency? Let’s not forget that Israel’s origins are themselves mired with terrorism and violence, even if we accept the legitimacy of Zionist claims (which I won’t debate here).

  37. Katz says:

    Or guns! We could give them guns!

    FaceLift, get real. It’s the 21st century. Going backwards isn’t an option.

    There appear to be plenty of RWDBs of the Mounted Keyboard Brigade who have as yet not joined in combat in the various Central Fronts against Terror.

    Perhaps their literary skills could be put to better use as shock troops in the War on Holocaust Denial. They could be deployed to Denial Hotspots to fight for Historical Truth.

    Ach! Zos Ragkopfen!

    Zey vill learn, und zey vill enjoy…

  38. Fiasco da Gama, Own Goal In-Goal, Go! says:

    Di Canio is not a goalie.

    Right you are, FDB. A spot of internal exile for me while I consider my shortcomings, at least from my favoured supporter’s bay. In my weak defence, as a long-dead Portuguese navigator, I’m generally only a follower of the Iberian peninsula leagues, and ‘f course the new Australian A-League, which has been pretty good so far.
    JPZ, if it came down to sports from the United States, I know I’d certainly favour Al Capone’s favourite—baseball.

  39. PeterTB says:

    Surely the alignment of the Palestinian Mufti with Nazism that you cite PeterTB was a strategic, and certainly misguided, response to Zionist insurgency and British complacency?

    Er…..No

  40. SG says:

    Gee PeterTb, that’s a real objective site you quoted there. Funnily enough, it doesn’t have an entry for “right of return”, although it does happily mention Israel’s “Law of return” – a subtly different thing indeed. Wonder why that is? When asked about the claims that Ariel Sharon is a war criminal, your happy site says “These claims are anti-Israel propaganda and can be easily understood as such when examined in context”. It has a link to the webpage for the Irgun, but no mention of Zionist terrorism before the establishment of Israel. Interested in such a contradiction, I asked the cheerful website about Yasser Arafat and learnt an awful lot about how terrible a terrorist he was.

    Still, since the thread started by giving credence to right wing lunatic media, it might as well finish in the same vein…

  41. Nabakov says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake, it’s a Daily Mail beatup. You wanna be reminded of that old riff again? No?
    Too late!

    The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country;
    The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country;
    The Times is read by people who actually do run the country;
    The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country;
    The Financial Times is read by people who own the country;
    The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country;
    The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is; and
    Sir Humphrey: “Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

    To which I’d only add that since then, the Daily Mail is now read by bitter first wives and their maintence crew.

    “There is no doubt that Britain is racing back to medieval period. Multiculti will explode there first. Even before France!”

    Gee, you’re a very unworldly and untravelled little grumptruck aren’t you?

  42. audrey says:

    Very funny Nabakov!

    But SG;

    Still, since the thread started by giving credence to right wing lunatic media, it might as well finish in the same vein…

    It wasn’t just reported by The Daily Mail – that’s just the article I linked to. It was also in The Times and in The Telegraph.

    The ‘beat up’ comes from a study done by the Historical Association in Britain.

  43. SG says:

    Audrey, go and read the report “Teaching Emotive and Controversial History”. It’s not what the reports say at all, and it doesn’t actually present any statistics. It has a one page discussion paper on teaching muslim students about the history of islam, in between similar papers on England and Slavery, the Nazis and the Holocaust, and Russia in the 20s. In fact, the report on muslim history doesn’t mention anti-semitism.

    I think this would be what constitutes a beat-up. And are you suggesting the Times and the Telegraph aren’t right-wing lunatic media?

  44. PeterTB says:

    SG

    So the material is factually wrong? In what respect?

    Or is it just an Inconvenient Truth?

  45. PeterTB says:

    SG

    Are you denying that the Mufti was close to Hitler? Or perhaps that he was Arafat’s Uncle? Where did he spend the war years?

  46. PeterTB says:

    SG

    While you’re at it, tell me about the offer Israel made to the refugees to return in 1949? Who stopped them returning?

  47. SG says:

    Well PeterTB, I don’t know anything about the facts of the case, I was merely pointing out that your purveyor of facts was a little one-sided. Nor am I the one who feels that a thread about non-existent aggro muslim students ought to be turned into a referendum on the anti-semitism of the Palestinians. But I’m not the one providing evidence from a website which dismisses criticisms of Ariel Sharon as attacks on Israel. I think your website might have more in common with the Daily Mail’s mythical students than you really want to let on. I would ask what that says about the mindset of people who rely on such a website to make their case, but what’s the point? Muslim-bashing is trendy these days amongst the left as well – at least that part which identifies with the ALP – and although it’s disappointing it’s hardly surprising to find it here. Why else would someone treat such clearly biassed sources of information with such credulity?

  48. PeterTB says:

    Well PeterTB, I don’t know anything about the facts of the case, I was merely pointing out that your purveyor of facts was a little one-sided

    On that basis we should ignore the ABC (half joking).

    So you’ve got nothing?

  49. PeterTB says:

    I think your website might have more in common with the Daily Mail’s mythical students than you really want to let on.

    SG

    Pehaps you need some more links:

    link

    link

    link

    Note also, that I initiated this line of discussion in response to someone else’s comment re Muslims and Nazis

  50. PeterTB says:

    Plenty of other links available SG. More in moderation.

    Do you ever engage substantively? Or is ad hominem your only MO?

  51. This comment (on the Telegraph site Audrey linked to above) from a British school teacher was, I thought, particularly telling. It squares with my own experience of teaching in ‘difficult’ British schools, and shows what happens to discipline when teachers have no sticks and few carrots with which to manage their charges.

    I am a teacher. Like the majority of people who have responded to this article, I am horrified by these unwanted developments. However, I am also horrified by the vitriolic teacher-bating I have seen on these responses. Please understand our position here. I go to work every day and feel ‘under siege’ – I suffer daily attacks of verbal and physical abuse. I prevented a student from playing in a football match because he had beaten up a younger student and I had death-threats and dog exrement posted through my letter-box. Teachers want to teach the truth, but they also want (and deserve) to be able to do their job without threats and attacks. I understand why some teachers might want to avoid further attacks by teaching something that offends students whose parents might be inclined to do something about it. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean that I, or any other member of my prefession agree with it. Soon there will be no decent teachers; as more people leave the profession through frustration at being highly-paid child-minders, unable to teach those who refuse to be taught. Maybe then, we as a profession, will be appreciated and the blame will finally move from our doors to the those who deserve it – Government, Parents and children. This kind of PC stupidity will only stop when we have legislation to protect us and allow us to do our job properly. This, unfortunately, will not happen while this pathetic government is in power. They are so busy trying to please the minority groups in our society that they have lost sight of what really matters and being ‘British’ has lost its meaning. Just as the word ‘teacher’ has lost its meaning in many of our state schools. Don’t blame us – we’re just trying to do our best under unbelievably awful conditions. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’d like to do a job-swap for a week? No? You’re probably right – only a real idiot would be a teacher …

    On the Mufti-Nazis connection, the collaboration of Muslim minority populations in the Soviet Union and Balkans with Hitler is very well documented, although it did not arise solely through anti-semitism. The Soviets (in particular) persecuted religion in circumstances of appalling cruelty, while the Nazis allowed religious groups (some, limited) freedom. The arrival of Nazi troops in cities with mixed populations – Odessa in Ukraine, for example – was greeted with enthusiastic Catholic bell-ringing and Islamic calls to prayer. Himmler in particular was fascinated with Islam and believed (correctly) that followers of this rather martial religion would make good soldiers. At Himmler and the Mufti’s urging, the Nazis backed a proto-Ba’athist coup in Iraq and provided funding to various Islamic front groups throughout the Middle East.

    There were several entirely Muslim SS divisions – the Bosnian Handschar Division, for example, and the Kosovar/Albanian Skanderbeg. Chechens, Kazakhs and Tartars were also well represented in the various Ukrainian divisions, although in time they were given their own detachments due to language difficulties. After the war, Stalin deported the entire Muslim population of the Crimea to Siberia for collaboration with the Nazis. The collaboration charge was legitimate (there were almost no Crimean Tartars in Soviet forces, unlike other minorites, which were fairly equally represented on both sides), although his response carried an appalling cost in human life and created many problems in modern day Ukraine. Many Tartars now seek to reclaim their property from the Russian families to which it was often given.

    Inevitably, some of these Muslim troops participated in the Holocaust – this was difficult to avoid on the Eastern Front in any case – although the extent of that involvement is not something I can go into here without making this comment even longer than it is.

  52. j_p_z says:

    “as more people leave the profession through frustration at being highly-paid child-minders…”

    Highly paid. Heh heh.

    skepticlawyer — I woulda thought that you, being a libertarian and all (I am very much *not* one) would have come across what strikes me as the fairly obvious solution to a presumed public education crisis (if it is indeed as bad as all that, which may not be the case). If the crisis is in universal public education, well, then, just stop making it universal. Legitimate *access* to schools should be universal (goes to equality before the law), but I don’t see at all why attendance should be compulsory, in the face of mass failure to adhere to norms, regulations, and standards.

    Public education is not a universal “right” with its roots deep in great political thought, it’s simply a policy — one that has been, at least up til now, highly successful. But if the kids refuse en masse to be educated, then I say, grant their wish. There should be minimum acceptable standards of behavior and achievement in schools, and if the kids can’t or won’t meet them — goodbye. What happens to ’em next? Don’t know, don’t care. See you in jail, or behind the counter at Burger King. Your problem, not ours. I suspect that the bar would rise with surprising speed.

    I once knew a guy who was a sort of motivational speaker/counselor in high schools, who enjoyed rather high levels of success with his charges. His message to students was not empathetic in the least. This is what he said to them, in so many words… “You don’t want to learn this stuff? Great! More for me! More for me, my own kids, my friends, and their kids, who DO want to learn it, and so we’ll be the ones making the money. You’ll just be our doormen! We don’t care! Keep right on fucking up! It means no competition for us! Great! We’re the only game in town! Every time you break the rules, cause problems, fail your courses, IT’S LITERALLY MONEY IN MY POCKET! CHA-CHING! Keep doing it — please! My kids want to vacation in Hawaii this year!!”

    It pretty much worked.

  53. You’re quite right, JPZ – I don’t believe education should be compulsory beyond primary school. This is rather a minority view, and very shocking to some, but it is the only way I can see beyond the current impasse. We are fooling ourselves if we deny the existence of a substantial underclass in western countries. I don’t think this will add to it very much, and it will make education considerably easier for everyone else.

  54. Katz says:

    But SL you seem to forget that retention rates at schools were driven upwards by the growth in youth unemployment.

    In other words, governments considered two evils:

    1. High rates of unemployment, as measured by statistics.

    2. Dysfunctional schools, as measured by an accumulation of complaints like the one you quoted.

    No prizes for recalling which of these evils successive governments wished to avoid.

    If you are advising governments to change their priorities on this question, then you might also explain to them how they are going to survive the damning consequences of rising unemployment rates.

    Indeed, that teacher is correct when she says teachers are “highly-paid child-minders”. She’s merely stating the bleeding obvious.

    And that state of affairs isn’t a matter of accident, it is a consequence of some very careful and incredibly expensive public policy.

    How would you allocate these resources more efficiently so that thy might by spent to prolong the incumbency of governments?

  55. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Indeed, that teacher is correct when she says teachers are “highly-paid child-mindersâ€?.

    If teachers are highly paid child-minders, then how much do actual child-minders get paid? And what does that say about how much or how little we value children? And would the Right-to Lifers ever consider redirecting their agitating energies to a campaign for higher wages to those who take care of and educate children, or is it only embryos they care about?

  56. Katz says:

    Good question PC.

    Perhaps the money saved on attempting to school savage little ingrates could be spent on a vastly enhanced child endowment system akin to the one established by Menzies in the 1950s.

    The Howardian wrinkle could well be that only families that fly an Australian flag on an approved flagpole will qualify for this life-affirming, public-funded largesse.

    Meantime, the unschooled savages could be drafted into the armed forces to combat jihadism, until they die.

    Win/win/win.

  57. FaceLift says:

    Well, PC, assuming these embryos survive ((and we will have to continue fighting for them, so I don’t see this as an alternative, but as an added requirement), I for one would only be too delighted to see an increase the wages and conditions of teachers, provided they stick to actually educating children in the basic requirements of academic success. I think they’re worth every cent, as long as they don’t attempt to push a political agenda on our children.

    Maybe it’s a bit much to ask teachers to oversee, and nattempt to ‘control’, such large groups of children, seeing that they have politically corrected diminishing levels of authority, unless they can impose their personality on a large group of people with varying degrees of attention span, characters, personalities, needs, demands, home-environments, etc., so perhaps we need to look at alternative modes of learning, given the marvellous array of technological breakthroughs at our disposal.

  58. Brian says:

    To respond to the comments on tough schools, my best story is a book I read in the 1970’s called ‘Don’t throw your teacher down the stairs on Friday’ about a large inner-urban high school (3,000 students, I think) in an un-named large city. It turns out to be Chicago and was an “upper” (senior) school.

    I recall that only the phys ed teacher was game to walk around by himself. He was 6’4″, two axe handles across the shoulders and carried a baseball bat.

    Every time a teacher was knifed the rather pathetic principal would organise some more teacher inservice to show teachers how to motivate kids to learn.

    The local cops had a unit they used to put into schools to pacify them. They did this through authoritarian force. When the unit leader was asked by the author whether their approach was successful he said, “It must be. We’ve never been asked back again!”

    One of the problems was that kids found out where you lived, so you were never safe.

    I googled and found that there was still at least one live witness to verify that the book was stating the truth.

    Second, I heard of one teacher’s experience in London where if a certain kid in the class liked you, you were OK. If he didn’t you’d best leave and hand in your resignation at the front desk on the way out.

    Third, I once talked to a woman who had taught in PNG, but tried out in a country Queensland city and couldn’t come close to coping with the discipline problems. She wasn’t in our terms a trained teacher. I was curious as to why our kids should be so much more problematic than those in PNG. She said the latter simply didn’t come to school if they didn’t want to learn.

    Which brings me to j_p_z’s very relevant question about compulsory education. We do it in large part because children have no choice of parents or the environments into which they are born. So it is very much a right, the right to live a life unconstrained by accidents of birth. But compulsion is a strategy that introduces a hidden curriculum that is antithetical to the aims of education, which I remind you is for freedom rather than for domestication.

    I’d be willing to give voluntary education a go, but I’d be looking for other institutional provisions. In this regard, there is an exciting project in the making in South Australia, based on the ideas of the Canadian Fraser Mustard as Adelaide Thinker in Residence. It has long been known for example that children who have access to imaginative play in the early childhood period are less likely to need remedial classes, less likely to show behavioural problems and less likely to do time in jail. The research on early brain development has now gone much further. We now know that touching in the first months is of vital importance in establishing certain brain pathways that will improve social adjustment in the 20s for example.

    The institutional response is to establish free and universally accessible Early Child Development and Parenting Centres where all child/parenting matters can be accessed, including information about activities that promote brain development. Mustard says the Scandinavians are doing it, but the world champion is Cuba, where there is about a 99% (no compulsion) uptake of the services.

    Economists usually find this sort of provision an absolute no brainer, yielding many times the initial return when considered in the long term. These centres are not the whole solution but it’s a start. But in order to start we need politicians who are not embarrassingly retarded in their approach to education.

  59. John Greenfield says:

    skepticlawyer

    I had dinner with a friend’s parents recently. His sister is about to leave the corporate world and complete a Dip.Ed. She wants to teach, so you can also raise her family. Her mother (a former teacher and School Counsellor) advised “if you want to teach, go a private school. If you want to perform Social Work go to a government school.

  60. Brian says:

    SL primary schools can be tough also.

    Going back to the post, IMHO the issue was genocide rather than the specific case of the Holocaust. It has been so prevalent in the last 100 years that I feel schools should not avoid it if it comes up. Whether and how it should be included in the curriculum is another matter. In order to transact and flourish in the world we need to know about ourselves and our fellow human beings. I think a case for inclusion can be argued, but in general I’m in favour of minimising compulsory content.

    There are always topics that are difficult in the classroom and parents views do have to be taken into account. My wife was teaching preschool when 9/11 happened. She decided not to tackle it on a class basis, but responded to particular chidren who had a need to talk about it or expressed blatantly false views.

    Her friend, also an experienced teacher, decided to have it all out in the open, but then she would have needed a strategy for dealing with those parents who would rather it be swept under the carpet.

    There is an issue about the rights of parents versus the needs of children. Paramount, I think, is the notion that when kids leave school about 18 they should be fully functioning members of society, able to work, mate and vote inter alia.

    When there is a conflict between the rights and wants of parents versus the needs of children I think we have to prefer the latter.

  61. j_p_z says:

    “higher wages to those who take care of and educate children…”

    Right now, presumably, most schoolteachers are paid a salary that is determined by a weird clash of market forces, policy prescriptions, and whatever leverage the teachers’ union can muster. Considering that excellent teaching is a high-value social good but with a highly-delayed rate of value maturation, maybe there’s a better way to do it.

    Here’s a rather fanciful, Jules Verne-ish kind of thought.

    Let’s say that the state paid teachers a fairly low, guaranteed base rate of pay that was considered the floor level. Then on top of that, they were paid quarterly bonuses out of a fund that was generated from a dedicated, straight-percentage income tax –let’s say 1 per cent– from all the income of everybody who is or was ever educated in that district. So, I go to school in District B. For the rest of my working life, I pay a straight, no-deductions 1 per cent of whatever income I make, back to the district that educated me. If I and my schoolmates work hard and make a bundle, the teachers benefit. But if we’re all lazy-ass nitwits, then they eat that particular shit sandwich. It’s a literal investment in the future. It might create all sorts of interesting motivations, and a literal ‘interest’ in encouraging excellence.

  62. John Greenfield says:

    Personally, I think all Muslims should be taught the Holocaust. In fact, yeach them as much as possible to undo the brainwashing they receive from their parents and nutty mullahs.

  63. SG says:

    So PeterTB, pointing out that your website only presents one side of the facts is “ad hominem” is it? What does that make it when “Palestine facts” claims that accusations of war crimes against Ariel Sharon are “anti-Israeli slurs”? I presume that is intelligent debate?

    I don’t need to know the whole facts about this or that mufti or this or that anti-semitic anybody, in order to be able to tell when a website (or a newspaper) is only presenting half the facts. Which is all I was doing. Keep bashing away at the Mufti all you want (it’s easy isn’t it – those muslims are already on the ground at the moment, so it’s easy to lay the boot in) – meanwhile the original tale of the post goes remarkably unchallenged, even though anyone who bothers to read the original report can tell it’s a great fat beat up, true Daily Mail style.

    You obviously aren’t interested in the truth of that though, are you? Because you’re way too busy piling on to the mufti. But while you’re piling on, maybe you should add the Stern Gang to your list. They negotiated with the Nazis and attacked English targets during the war, as did the Irgun. Or aren’t those facts acceptable for the debate?

  64. John Greenfield says:

    SG

    It is very important to understand the role of the Mufti and his followers. The Mufti wanted to extend the Final Solution into Palestine and was on the Nazi payroll. He was even based in Berlin from 1942 to 1945. He led an anti-Jewish pogrom in Bagdad in 1941.

    It is vital to understand this to understand what the Palestinian Jews knew they were up against. You must remember the Mufti was not some fringe splinter group rejected by the authorities (as was the cae with the Stern Gang and Irgun), the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was the political leader of the Palestinian Muslims from 1922 to the 1950s! And he was acknowledged as such world-wide.

  65. SG says:

    Ah yes, the fringe radicals in the Irgun, who were so rejected by the authorities and all serious thinkers in the Jewish camp that their leader, Menachem Begin, was never able to achieve any influence – except for that brief stint he spent in the Israeli parliament, and then that little period as Prime Minister.

    I think that all you can do with this argument is establish that yes, everyone who wanted Palestine for themselves was willing to side with England’s enemy, which happened to be a mass murderer of Jews. Congratulations, you’ve established the moral equivalence of the “freedom fighters” in Palestine in 1939. Or did you think that the Palestinian Arabs didn’t have a bit of a sense that maybe, just maybe, Zionism was gunning for their land? Hmmm, I wonder if they realised “what they were up against” as well? Or do we have a double standard here, where it’s okay for Jewish terrorists to side with whosoever they want, but not for Arab terrorists? Why would that be? Is it a) that you don’t really think Arab claims to Palestine in 1939 were legitimate, or b) because those dirty muslims have to be held to a different standard to the noble Zionists?

    And what does any of this have to do with the Daily Mail beat up? Does it say anything about modern muslim students’ receptiveness to learning about anti-semitism in their history? No, but I suppose a credulous leftist taking a Daily Mail attack on muslims seriously is as good a reason as any to lay the boot in, isn’t it?

  66. PeterTB says:

    I don’t need to know the whole facts about this or that mufti or this or that anti-semitic anybody, in order to be able to tell when a website (or a newspaper) is only presenting half the facts.

    But curiously SG, you know enough about the “accusations of war crimes against Ariel Sharon” to know that they are not “anti-Israeli slursâ€??

    You haven’t addressed any of my questions as to the facts about the mufti, , you fail to achknowledge that it was not I that introduced the Muslim-Nazi link to this thread, and you keep trying to move the discussion elsewhere.

    What is your agenda?

  67. John Greenfield says:

    Peter

    One thing I have noticed in my studies of the Arab Israeli drama is that anti-Zionists, particularly in the Western Left (both Old Left and bourgeois Left) seem totally uninterested in understanding the broader historical context.

    They have no interest in the agency of the Arab world; its divisions; the imperial ambitions of various members, etc. Denial about al-Husseini is just the tip of the iceberg.

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