Posted by: anglopole | November 5, 2008

Guy Fawkes – the terrorist of old

It’s the 5th of November today, just another day in most European countries, except Britain. It’s Guy Fawkes night today or, if one prefers, bonfire/fireworks night. In modern terms Guy Fawkes was nothing but a terrorist. OOOOH! Bang! Whizzzzz! Aaah! Bang! Yelp! These are the sounds that will remind you of what he planned to do but, luckily for the king and parliment members of that day, he was unsuccesful! As I am writing this post there’s fireworks noise everywhere here :-/  It’s always amazed me that Bonfire Night is much more ‘explosive’  than New Year’s Eve. Actually, every evening for the past week’s been, erm, ear-splitting… not much of a blessing when one has young kids, really! The whole thing should, then , perhaps be renamed as The Explosive Guy Fawkes Week? 😉


By the way, MI5 could learn a lot from those who caught Mr Fawkes red-handed, couldn’t they? 😉 Well, what the celebrations make me remember about is, that it’s not just Muslims that can resort to cruel fanaticism. Any religion can be used as a pretext or excuse for malicious, mean and violent acts – it doesn’t make the particular religion bad, though, which gets often overlooked!

So, some four centuries after Fawkes was caught, tortured and executed for his role in a scheme that never came to fruition, Britons still celebrate his demise each Nov. 5 by burning his likeness in effigy and setting fireworks ablaze. I can’t imagine how Bin Laden’s capture, trial, and sentence would be celebrated if it was the British intelligence to bring him to justice!

Anyway, despite the irritating noise I am not thinking about the notorious Fawkes today. To me, it’s Barack Obama’s day today. The American president-elect is not, after all, an inspiration for the USA only! 🙂

“Most politicians feel like Gordon Brown: managers rather than leaders, great on detail but boring as hell. You would sell your grandmother to listen to Obama; you would only go to see Brown if he was in the same street, and you happened to be free, and there was nothing decent on TV. “ by Ray Lewis


  1. “Remember, remember the 5th of November”!
    I would say that most English people celebrate the event without any thought about what it represents. In fact, it almost feels more like a pagan event, celebrating the arrival of winter. It’s about standing outside in the crisp, cold night air, drinking soup from a polysterene cup whilst kids eat crunchy, sticky toffee apples. Finally, it’s about the pleasure of watching fireworks, which seems to be a simple, primitive joy for people worldwide!


  2. You’re right, Adam, it is just fun tiume for many people! I’ll probably enjoy it more when my kids are old enough to go to a fireworks display 🙂

    On the other hand, what’s the point of keeping a tradition nobody really knows the purpose for?


  3. It’s not that people don’t know the reasons for something, but more that they’ve appropriated it for themselves to fill other needs. I guess the same could be said for Christmas which is almost universally celebrated in ‘Christian’ countries, although the majority of the populations would call themselves athiest.
    I think as humans we still largely respect the changing of seasons, and these festivities seem to coincide with some basic desires inside us (Bonfire night = Autumn, Christmas = Winter, Easter = Spring, my Birthday = Summer!)


  4. Exactly! I have no idea why atheists celebrate Christmas or Easter. It’s a bit like me, being a Christian, suddenly started celebrating Hannuka or Ramadan! 😉
    Do people have to have a special occasion to give each other gifts, have dinner parties, organise firework displays? So, in a sense, Brits should be grateful to Mr Fawkes – without his unsuccessful coup ther’d be no bonfire night! 😉


  5. Fireworks Year Round 🙂 !


  6. It certainly feels so…. :/

    It’s 07.11 and they are still making noise with the fireworks! It’s fine on one night, but I’m gradually beginning to feel I live in some sort of war torn zone! 😉


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