New “Radicalisation Awareness Kits” provided to schools by the Federal Government suggest a link between the “alternative music scene” and violent extremism, as well as ideological violence.
The Government’s 32-page ‘Preventing Violent Extremism And Radicalisation In Australia’ booklet was launched this week, featuring a section on violent extremism, which suggests that teenagers who listen to “alternative music” show signs of potentially becoming violent extremists.
In the case study provided, the made-up story of a girl named Karen begins with her growing up “in a loving family who never participated in activism of any sort”.
When Karen moves out of home to attend university though, she becomes “involved in the alternative music scene, student politics and left-wing activism”. At this point she sounds like a pretty cool gal, but the Government doesn’t seem to think so.
As she enjoys her “alternative music”, Karen attends an environmental protest and drops out of uni to live in a “forest camp” for a year to disrupt logging activities. Fighting between protesters and loggers goes down, and Karen is arrested for trespass, damaging property, assault and obstructing police.
These days, Karen apparently thinks her time spent enjoying “alternative music” was just “typical teenage rebellion that went further than most”.
Gosh darn that “alternative music”! Just look at these violent extremists:
The Government’s anti-radicalisation kit aims to highlight circumstances in which young people could become radicalised. It’s all very in-keeping with their terrorism narrative, but environmentalists, teachers and music lovers are up in arms about it.
As Jess Origliasso from The Veronicas has tweeted today, “About to ‘Radicalise’ 4000 kids today at slimefest wearing my Nirvana shirt and talking about Sea Shepherd. #freeKaren.”
Jonathan La Nauze from the Australian Conservation Foundation says the Government’s anti-radicalisation booklet is misleading and potentially dangerous.
“It sounds like something that’s been dreamt up in the cigar room of the Institute of Public Affairs. There’s no resemblance to the way that people in Australia feel about their environment and the need to stand up to protect it,” he says, via the ABC.
The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Terrorism, Michael Keenan, who launched the anti-radicalisation booklet, says its main targets are young people at risk of being radicalised by Islamist groups such as Islamic State.
He also says the booklet is designed to help teachers understand “certain signs” which “would lead them to be concerned about somebody”. According to the Karen case study, one of those signs is “alternative music”.
Maurie Mulheron, the president of the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation, says the anti-radicalisation kit is designed to create fear in the community.
“I think it’s a fairly cynical move by the Federal Government not to make anyone feel safer but to engender fear and intolerance,” he says.
“I’m very doubtful that the Federal Government has pure motives in this area. They’ve got a track record now of trying to engender division within the community on these issues and I don’t think that what they’re proposing will make one iota of difference.”
You can read the Government’s full Karen case study alongside some reactions from music lovers, below, and the full 32-page anti-radicalisation booklet on the Living Safe Together website.
Until next time, #FreeKaren.
‘Preventing Violent Extremism And Radicalisation In Australia’ Booklet – Karen Case Study
— WACA (@akaWACA) September 24, 2015
If a Border Force agent asks if you like alternative music, ask them to define alternative music. This will give you ample time to escape.
— ABC News Intern (@ABCnewsIntern) September 24, 2015
Listened to a lot of punk in high school, now I think that breaking international law to torture asylum seekers is wrong #freeKaren
— Wizard_Nathan_128kbps.mp3 (@nlfharrison) September 24, 2015
Is it a sign of my radical, music-listening youth that I thought #freekaren was a Sonic Youth reference?
— Andrew Giles MP (@andrewjgiles) September 24, 2015
Federal Govt schools 'Radicalisation Awareness Kit": the only case study under "violent extremism". pic.twitter.com/fOHUgCw9tD
— Mark Colvin (@Colvinius) September 24, 2015