IF your city is not able to understand the role of scouting and Baden-Powell, an officer of the imperial army of UK (I do not ignore that fact, he served the British imperialist interests in three continents), I offer myself to receive the menaced statue of Baden-Powell and keep it in my garden.

BP’s book Scouting for Boys is a manifesto for human understanding and respect.

I am Latin, Iberian, and I know what I am talking about. In Italy, fascism banished scouting. In Franco’s Spain, the scout movement went underground and suffered right-wing terrorist attacks.

In Portugal, the Salazar regime almost forbade scouting in continental Portugal and it was forbidden in the colonies (Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Portuguese India, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor...). The Girl Guides Association disappeared, except in Madeira Island.

However, in Portugal and colonies, scouting survived and managed to be an alternative space. In some places an alternative antifascist, democratic, and anti-racist space for youth.

In France and Holland and other countries, many scouts and guides were part of the Resistance against the Nazis and bled for it.

In Baden-Powell´s scouting the message is: Respect every race, respect religious differences, don’t feel proud of your own class origin or status.

In the Portuguese town where I live, former scouts were militants in different political or social organisations for the democratic change in 1974.

Some will judge me for being leftist and working and mingling with Asian and African and other migrant people in Lisbon suburbs (I have been working as a suburban primary school teacher for 25 years).

I suggest to some activists: Study Baden Powell, criticise this or that point, but respect what is more important in is legacy for improving human relations. Probably Baden-Powell being an imperial soldier acting in different countries is the reason for important and positive characteristics of the scout movement.

Scouts and girl guides stand up for dialogue and we are resilient against fascists, racists and “pseudo-leftists”.

We, former and actual scouts, are ready to reject any misguided attack on Baden-Powell´s memory.

When it arrived the time of “post colonial analysis” and “gender analysis” in politics and universities, scouting had already got an important experience in serving communities.

Being an imperial general of his epoch, Baden-Powell offered the world a very good educational tool: scouting.

I choose to keep the best of Baden-Powell´s ideas, the parts that serve the people today and tomorrow.


Queluz, Portugal