One of the reputed origins of the myth of the Pied Piper were the Children’s Crusades, events which supposedly took place around 1212 across Europe, when a visionary child-preacher is said to have inspired 30,000 youngsters to follow him on a military march to the Holy Land of Palestine and Jerusalem, to recapture it from representatives of an infidel occupying religion. Today, historians often dispute whether or not any of this actually happened, or at least accuse accounts of being highly inflated.
Children’s Crusades have certainly been happening up and down Britain during late 2023, ever since Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th and Tel Aviv’s consequent military response. These birthed the ‘School Strikes for Palestine’ movement, in which thousands of children, some of them far too young to have any real idea of the issues at stake, have been groomed out of lessons and onto the streets shouting Islamist slogans by contemporary adult Pied Pipers.
The infants’ profound knowledge of Middle Eastern politics can be seen in photographs showing prepubescent boys brandishing placards of Pikachu waving a Palestinian flag and shouting “Save the Children!”, thus finally revealing the attitude even of hitherto politically neutral Pokémon characters towards the deadly conflict. What are Psyduck’s considered opinions on current events taking place in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, I wonder?
The Caped Crusader
The latest educational establishment to be targeted is Barclay Primary School in (Middle-)East London, which in late December saw exaggerated allegations that an eight-year-old pupil was bullied by teachers there simply “for being Palestinian”. A previous Children in Need non-uniform day had surprisingly seen pupils turn up not dressed in burkas and djellabas, as anticipated, but adorned with pro-Palestinian badges, flags and stickers on their coats.
A small number of families reportedly subsequently received letters home, warning their kids not to engage in making “extremist or divisive comments” about the war, as some evidently had been. I guess the rough translation of this might be “please stop your brainwashed child bullying the Jews in his class”, but who knows?
Either way, once an exaggerated, ‘false’ and ‘malicious’ account of all this had spread online, hundreds of parents and other adults congregated outside the school building (including one masked and caped individual who can only be described as a Palestinian Batman), raising Muslim flags from lamp-posts and forcing the school to close down for Christmas two days early.
Traditionally, most British schoolkids would have been delighted by this outcome, but these days I’m unsure if most of them living in the local catchment area even celebrate the festival. Were the children and parents involved truly British at all? The most telling quote was elicited from one demonstrator by Sky News: “We had a situation today where Israel is attacking Gaza. Why is it that they are not allowing an eight-year-old child to wear the badge of his homeland, of his heritage?”
Ah, so the true “homeland” of some Muslim children attending Barclay Primary School isn’t actually Britain at all, but Palestine? Will you be taking them back there any time soon, then, I wonder?
Ignoring the Warning Flags
The media have largely treated all this as a brand-new phenomenon, spawned post-October 7th, but this is not so. Thanks to shifting demographics, for several years now, Britain’s schoolchildren – who, proportionately-speaking, are far more likely to be Muslim than older segments of the population – have been protesting whenever tensions rise in the Middle East. Back when I was at school, the burning controversial playground issues were Liverpool vs Man Utd, Nintendo vs Sega or Blur vs Oasis; now it’s Israel vs Palestine, IDF vs Hamas or Arab vs Jew.
During previous Middle East conflagrations in 2021, for example, teenage students at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester filmed themselves standing on tables outside the building and shouting “Free Palestine!” before plastering footage online. Pathetically, it then emerged the College’s headmaster, Jason Smith, had ‘allowed’ the protest to go ahead – possibly because if he’d said ‘no’, the kids would have done it anyway. According to Citizen Smith:
This was a short and limited gathering outside during breaktime where a group of students showed their support for Palestine. Staff were closely observing but didn’t intervene in order to allow students to have their voice about a subject they are clearly passionate about. Students were vocal and energetic but the event was contained, minimising disruption to others.
At least severe ethnic tensions between Muslims and Jews make a nice difference to severe ethnic tensions between Muslims and Sikhs in 2020s Leicester, I suppose.
Also in 2021, Allerton Grange Secondary School in Leeds had to be protected by police following adult rallies held outside. The institution’s head, Mike Roper, had held an assembly telling pupils off for wearing unauthorised ID lanyards with miniature Palestinian flags stuck onto them, telling them it was potentially “a call to arms” and “sometimes seen as a message of support for antisemitism” causing “a lot of distress” to certain carefully unnamed “minority” students (i.e., the Jewish ones). Perhaps Mr. Roper didn’t realise that’s precisely why some Muslims like it, leading to mobs turning up outside chanting and waving the forbidden flag in question. In the words of one picketer, the headmaster’s words were “shocking and inflammatory”. Unlike going around waving Palestinian flags at innocent Jewish kids, obviously.
An interesting report into the issue from the think-tank Policy Exchange released at the start of December revealed the ‘coincidence’ that the latest wave of 2023 pro-Palestine school strikes had begun in Bristol, the very same place where Left-wing activist teachers had previously helped launch a series of school climate strikes inspired by those of Greta Thunberg. Campaigners associated with the Green Party (the traditional holy colour of Islam and environmentalism alike) and the Stop the War Coalition, it transpired, had been acting in solidarity with sympathetic kids and teachers, calling for successive school strikes each and every Friday (again, both the holy day of Islam and of the ‘Fridays for Future’ climate strike movement) until
Zionism was eliminated peace broke out.
According to the Education Act 1996 (Sections 406 and 407), schools are supposed to be politically impartial, but not, it would appear, when the political issues involved are those fashionable ones the teachers themselves happen to personally agree with. When asked by the Guardian in 2019 whether it was justified to allow pupils to walk out of lessons to attend a Climate strike, this is what Toby Spence, then headmaster of a Quaker institution named Sibford School in Oxfordshire, had to say:
Well, let’s be consistent about matters here for a moment: if there’s “not a lot of point” in kids learning about Shakespeare or Pythagoras because the planet is supposedly about to burn to a cinder at any given moment, surely there’s no point in them all wasting their time learning about George Floyd, Mary Seacole, transgenderism or indeed the current plight of the population of Gaza, or even about climate change itself, right, Mr. Spence? I think we all know the answer to that.
And what if “the school community” (Freirean educational Newspeak for ‘the children’) “felt very strongly” about the creeping Islamisation of Britain and wanted to attend a Britain First march outside a mosque? Or what if some held sceptical views about the ‘climate emergency’, so wished to skip lessons to picket outside a coal-powered power-station which was just being newly decommissioned? Would you allow that, Sir, if you sensed “a great deal of exasperation” about the “myopic” political conduct of our current governing class amongst the pupils involved?
Diane Reay, a Left-wing sociologist (that’s a tautology, I think) and Professor of Education at Cambridge University, also thought children were justified in striking:
But, again, what if that “common cause” was one you did not approve of, Ms. Reay? What then? I would guess that, in that case, it should not be allowed after all.
Wombles of Wimbledon, Wombling Free Palestine!
One of the most telling stories from the contemporary Children’s Crusade came from Ricards Lodge Girls’ School in Wimbledon, whose Headmistress, Kate Page, had sent out a letter to parents following the October 7th attacks, telling them she didn’t want to see any ethnic riots in the school, and so, quite fairly, was banning protests or displays expressing support for either side in the conflict:
The escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine over the past few days has shocked us all. I am mindful of the fact that we have students, parents, carers and staff of both Jewish and Palestinian heritage who may have family, friends and community members caught up in this terrible conflict. … We want our school to be a sanctuary and safe space for all members of our community and ask all staff, students and parents to be mindful of the emotive nature of this conflict. … We have reminded our students that there should be no displays of flags or slogans by any member of our school community please, especially during this time.
Guess which side disregarded its part of the bargain? Despite Mrs Page’s orders, hundreds of students marched through the school grounds protesting against Israel nonetheless, understandably leaving the Jewish pupils – whose own march, had they disobeyed rules and organised one, would presumably have enjoyed far fewer participants – “feeling unsafe”. Here’s some footage, appropriately overlaid with musical Islamic chanting of some sort. I can’t understand Arabic, but I’m sure it’s just saying #BeKind.
Children shouldn’t be missing school en masse to go on protest marches for more-or-less anything in my opinion, whether I happen to approve of the particular cause in question or not. That so many thousands of them are now doing so for an issue which, up until relatively recently, was essentially a matter of fringe concern in the U.K., and certainly amongst U.K. schoolchildren, is yet another deeply worrying manifestation of the unmitigated folly of our current era of uncontrolled mass immigration. If you import the world, as has often been warned, you import the world’s problems, too.
If we keep on being led blindly down this alley by multiculturalism’s zealous Pied Pipers, then Britain as a whole, hopelessly divided, will end up looking very like a diluted, homeopathic version of Palestine and the West Bank themselves – albeit hopefully without all the tanks, bombs and missiles. Harking back to the most famous literary and folkloric figure to emerge from the days of the Children’s Crusades, when it comes to mass immigration, one day soon, it will be time for us all to pay the Piper. What happens when we find we can’t afford his fee?
If they really care so much about their futures, maybe some schoolkids should go and organise a big march against all this or something.
Steven Tucker is a journalist and the author of over 10 books, the latest being Hitler’s & Stalin’s Misuse of Science: When Science Fiction Was Turned Into Science Fact by the Nazis and the Soviets (Pen & Sword/Frontline), which is out now.