Guy Fawkes

To mark the end of #NaBloPoMo Charlie over at SexBlof(ofSorts) decided to run a competition, the challenge was to write a non-fiction post on any topic that you like. I decided to do something completely different to my normal posts. I hope you will forgive (and enjoy) the slight deviation from my usual subject matter.

Remember remember the 5th November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I know of no reason the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot

Tonight I watched one of my favourite films, I have to admit it’s a bit of a Bonfire Night tradition of mine. The film is V for Vendetta (it’s also one of my favourite comic books too). It’s set in the not too distant future (or present depending on your point of view) in England, and the premise is a dystopian thriller. The hero’s plans for what he sees as a corrupt and morrally ambiguous government are inspired by Guy Fawkes. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but while watching the film (a film I’ve seen many times before) I was struck by the irony of the 5th November.

In the current climate where terrorism is a very real issue and we are constantly facing new rules and regulations meant to keep us safe and protected from terror suspects, isn’t it ironic that every year we set aside a whole day to celebrate a man trying to blow up the seat of government? It is Guy Fawkes night and the very acts of celebration (lighting fires, setting off fireworks, etc) all symbolise what Guy Fawkes was trying to do, we don’t seem to be celebrating his failure or death but the actual thing he was attempting to accomplish.

Every year we remember a freedom fighter who tried to create what he thought would be a better world. He may not have achieved what he set out to do but just maybe the fact that 400 years on his name is still remembered and his efforts are still celebrated means that he did achieve something that could create that better world. His legacy sits as a reminder to governments everywhere that it is the people who place them in power and they are accountable to those same people for the choices they make, even if it doesn’t always feel like that. There is a line in the film “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people”. I believe this is something Guy Fawkes would have agreed with. His methods may have been wrong but the ideas behind them were sound.

People have to stand up and be counted.

Hope everyone enjoyed their 5th November celebrations.

Writing this I was reminded of the number of countries that have days of celebration in remembrance of ruling parties being overthrown or corrected in some way. Maybe there’s hope for humanity afterall.

6 thoughts on “Guy Fawkes

  1. I’m not sure we are celebrating his efforts after all every year we burn an effigy of him on a bonfire, I understand it to be a celebration of democracy surviving terrorism and a reminder of the dangers of sectarianism.

    You are right about the current state of politics though, funny how interpretations skew when you feel unrepresented.

    • Not sure about democracy. After all the current UK government didn’t get in through democracy, they got in through voter apathy and wheeling and dealing.

      I don’t really believe in democracy. I think it’s one of the lies we tell ourselves so we can feel better about our lack of control.

      • I felt very uncomfortable the last time I voted, it was the first time I really thought not only “whats the point” but also anger at the inevitability of my dissatisfaction. I felt stuck.

        Our system has become far too self interested but I would still say democracy at its heart is our most reasonable option.

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