The internet had a snortle today (Friday) as news travelled that the Federal Government has printed and distributed a set of ‘educational’ booklets to schools around the country.
The booklets aim to educate about radicalisation with snappy titles like, ‘I am Worried Somebody I Know is Radicalising, What can I do?’
In the booklet, ‘What is Violent Extremism’, is the tale (or case study) of Karen, who went to uni, started listening to alternative music, and ended up an environmental activist.
The case study:
The internet paused in wonderment at such idiocy and the Twitter hashtag #FreeKaren started getting many a WTF? Coments and humourous ripostes, like this one:
Actual environment groups were not impressed with this case study equating environmental activism to terrorism. But the Counter Terrorism Minister, Michael Kennan, was quoted: ‘In the release launching the kit, Keenan said the potential radicalisation of young Australians to violent extremism was something the government was “deeply concerned” about.’ (http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/25/radicalisation-kit-links-activism-and-alternative-music-scene-to-extremism)
While the experts consulted with, and quoted repeatedly in the booklets, quickly distanced themselves saying that the booklets were not for a general readership but for a ‘train the trainer’ use.
‘“It was meant for professionals who are leaders in communities, and to be used in training sessions to make people aware of the background of social and cultural factors that lead in very rare cases to radicalisation”’ said key author Gary Bouma (http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/25/anti-radicalisation-awareness-kit-never-meant-for-use-in-schools-says-key-author)
With almost 70% of Australians opposing the Government’s idea of removing charity status from environmental organisations, this is another example of how out of touch the Liberals are with modern society. Still, it was a moment of bemused reading and laughter for the day. Though what schoolchildren will make of this is anyone’s guess.
The Government has removed the tragic story of Karen from their ‘Living Safely Together’ website but the booklets are out in the schools and can still be downloaded.
All we can really do now is this:
• What the Guardian reckons ...
*Alternative Music Fan is known to the Editor.