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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Goulston Street graffito wasn’t anti-Semitic

An old Desert Rat who exchanged his leave with his brother – suffering severe trauma – would use words such as oxter and alikific. He was the only person, amongst his family and immediate friends, who used such terms. Each slang word was stolen from the indigenous population. As any Brit is likely to do, if he can say it, has a use for it, he will nick it. Hence the ever-enlarging English vocabulary.
Anyway, alikific - Allah-keefik (God will take care of it) or as he used it, sod it, I don’t care. Oxter : armpit. Why he needed another word for armpit I’ve no idea. But perhaps the Saharan heat and proximity made that particular part of the anatomy noteworthy.
I suggest that ex-army officer, Charles Warren, understood the definition of jewes – of Persian Indian origin and meaning justice. Of course, Warren feared public disorder. He erased the message before it was photographed, and against the advice of the City police. He was the commissioner of the Metropolitan police and his word in that borough held sway. Warren had heard his soldiers swear jewes when given an order they thought unfair, or received an unjust punishment from a senior soldier, and with whom they could not argue. Jewes. Judge, jury and executioner."Bastard jewes."
Charles Warren received criticism for his recruitment of service personnel as constables. The word jewes, understood by other ex-army men, would link the murders to the military, if not the Ripper - a dangerous position for Warren.
Jews is easy enough to spell. Adding a silent E doesn’t simplify the word. It complicates it. Why do that? Because the graffito wasn’t anti-Semitic – but no doubt ‘playful’ - as if the writer enjoyed cryptic games, but sod it, he didn't care ...

On 14th October 1896, eight years after the first letters, Commercial Street Police Station received, through the post, a Jack the Ripper letter.
Dear Boss,
You will be surprised to find that this comes from yours as of old Jack the Ripper.
Ha Ha. If my old friend Mr. Warren is dead you can read it. You might remember me if you try and think a little. Ha Ha . . . 
Much in the same vein followed, liberally sprinkled with words and phrases cribbed from the original communications but not in the same handwriting. The writer explained that he had just come back from abroad and was ready to resume his work, and he concluded with an enigmatic reference to the writing found in Goulston Street.
The Jewes are people that are blamed for nothing. Ha, Ha. Have you heard this before?
Yours truly. Jack the Ripper.

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