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A lesson from history

The Beagle Editor, A long time ago that canny Roman Cicero said…probably more than once…something along the lines of: “If you are ignorant of what happened before you were born you will remain always a child”. About 20-centuries later Winston Churchill put it pretty much the same way, but better.

That came to mind as I watched as much as I could take of the talking in Federal Parliament the other day of the Medivac proposals.

It occurred to me that not many, if any, of the politicians proposing to bring illegal immigrants, even the very naughty ones, into the mainland for medical treatment could think back to the days of National Service in Australia. The days when many an Australian 18-year-old faked various medical problems in order to be spared from a few months in the Army, Navy of Air Force. Some succeeded, one of the favoured methods being rubbing Vegemite into the knees, resulting in something that looked like housemaids knee, a form of burstitus.*

That was a very Australian way of doing things, but not all that long before then the Allies went about dropping leaflets over Nazi Germany giving similar hints to German teenagers who wanted to avoid military service. One simple system resulted in the symptoms of yellow jaundice, for instance. This was a win-win situation for the Allies as should Fritz, Herman or Wolfgang succeed in their attempts that would be so many fewer German soldiers to fight. And there was also the chance that should the German authorities, such as the Gestapo, find such a leaflet on a boy he would probably be shot, or sent to a punishment battalion.

Perhaps such ways, and more, of shamming medical conditions are available now, courtesy of the electronic media. Anon.

*Wouldn’t work as well now as there is much less salt in Vegemite these days. Name and address supplied


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