Guy Fawkes Night, also called as Bonfire Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November, primarily in Great Britain. It all starts in 1605, when a group of young Catholic conspirators planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament via planting 900 kg of gunpowder in the cellar of Westminster’s Palace and kill the then king, James I who had been less tolerant of the Catholic church. Guy Fawkes was arrested. People celebrated the king’s survival with bonfires and a few months later Parliament declared November 5 as Guy Fawkes Day, an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.
In the history, so many futile attempts of Government invasion or King assassination are available then why this man is famous?
What can I say? Well, British literature kept him alive in the words of books and nursery rhymes. And then, in 2006, comes the movie “V For Vendetta” based on a graphic novel of the same name that was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd. The movie depicts the story of protagonist V, an anarchist revolutionary and freedom fighter, dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask. Keeping the long story short and without any spoilers, at the end of the movie, V becomes the beginner of the revolution!
(I am not here to talk about the movie. But you can look for more info on Wikipedia. For that click here. But I would recommend to watch movie first.)
V for Vendetta: The revolutionary Speech (must watch!)
Impact of the movie
“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.”
― From ‘V for Vendetta’
And that’s what has happened! After the release of this movie, the mask of Guy Fawkes has been used as an emblem by many political and social activists to exhibit the tyranny of their government.
The group Anonymous protested the Church of Scientology, Operation Chanology
ACTA protest France
Polish politicians use Guy Fawkes Anonymous masks to protest EU counterfeiting agreement, ACTA protest
People march to the U.S. Capitol during the “Million Mask March” November 5, 2013 in Washington, DC.
“Million Mask March” November 5, 2013 in London
Anti-government protesters wearing official and homemade versions of the mask attend a rally outside a shopping mall in Bangkok
Members of the internet hacking group Anonymous have been staging protests across 16 cities in India, against what they say is internet censorship in the country. June 2012
Occupy Wall Street
May be this list is unending… I am sure that many protests are left unmentioned here…
David Lloyd, V for Vendetta illustrator and co-creator, quoted:-
The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way. My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolise that they stand for individualism – V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system. We knew that V was going to be an escapee from a concentration camp where he had been subjected to medical experiments but then I had the idea that in his craziness he would decide to adopt the persona and mission of Guy Fawkes – our great historical revolutionary.
At the end, all I want to say is that, this is a mask. A mask that will cover your face and will remove all your fear! Often a mask takes out the hidden desires of a person; some are truly beautiful and constructive to observe but for some closing our eyes is not enough to forget how much detrimental they are!
Before you come to any conclusion, I must warn you. When you will look at him like an ideology, you may find nothing but violence, brutality and a treason. But if you look as a human being, then you may find here, what I want you to seek.!
Tejas Ghetia is a doctor by trade and a writer by heart. An introvert atheist. Having virtues of silence and observance. Enjoying each day with his full consciousness. Befriended with books and movies.Liberating himself with his adventures of literary and philosophical type! Captivated by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Osho, Kahlil Gibran, Richard Dawkins, Kafka, JKR etc.