Fireworks and Pyrotechnics | A Day of Burning Lament for our Nation




Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gun powder treason and plot.
I know of no reason why the gun powder treason should ever be forgot.

As we gaze into the sky and cry ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhh’ tonight, and see the flickering shadows and cinders as the pyre burns and the guy turns to ash, I wonder what ought to be going through our heads? Is Guy Fawkes night the grounds for any more serious reflection, or just fun and toffee apples?

I’m a big fan of Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, a brutal meditation on a fascist Britian which is under constant threat of terrorism and pandemic infection… and the Christian Supremacist government that frightens the population into believing it is only vehicle for salvation.

Guy Fawkes night is really a celebration of the protection of democracy – the gunpowder plot to blow up parliament was foiled – and of the brutal burning of the Catholic perpetrator, Guido Fawkes.

But history is pretty clear that it was a stitch-up – and the ruling powers used the event to stir up religious hatred of Catholics, thus consolidating their own power.

Perhaps then, in the light of recent political news in the UK – Nick Griffin’s BNP sweetening the fascist message again, government advisors being sacked for speaking the truth and politicians drawing power to themselves in the name of democracy, when democracy is precisely what we aren’t getting – in the light of all this, perhaps tonight we should take to the fields and parks and scream and shout in awe of fire and explosions in burning lament.

Burning lament for continued discrimination, continued undercurrents of racism and fascism. Burning lament for the parlous state of our democracy. The powers that be will want us to just eat sweet apples and be blinded by the light. But tonight, perhaps we should turn our minds to more serious action, and commit to making sure that the complex lessons of the 5th of November are not forgotten.


4 responses to “Fireworks and Pyrotechnics | A Day of Burning Lament for our Nation”

  1. Karsten R

    One major issue I have with the film “V for Vendetta” is, that it portrays the (fictional) fascist government as “christian”. Either it should have portrayed no identifiable real religion or ideology or should have at least be a bit closer to reality. Christianity is inceasingly removed from the public space (at least in Europe and North America), see only the recent decision from the European Court of Justice.
    I think Christianity is currently not tempted with falling back into the attitudes of past centuries where throne and altar were tied together.

    As for the rest of your article, it is always important to be vigilant towards any racism and discrimination, and not only when it comes from the “powers”.

  2. Actually, i thought this was one of the most powerful aspects of the film, and one only need look at the recent BNP stuff, where they’ve banged on about Christianity as if it was some white-supremacist religion to see that Alan Moore was pretty much on the money.

  3. Ooooh – great post! V for Vendetta is one of my favourite films and I was also wondering this November 5th about revitalising the festivities with their original spirit!

  4. Karsten R

    Sorry for letting so much time pass by for my answer, but sometimes I´m much occupied…
    If Alan Moore wanted to write a story about a real danger to society, than it might be always wise to not seem like steering or divining the audience into a certain direction.
    Allegory is by nature always suggesting, while avoiding allegory allows the audience to draw their own conclusions and make application of the narrative according to their actual situation. Also, such allegory as is used in V for Vendetta is by any chance not applicable globally, in different cultures the challenges might be very different.
    As for your argument with the BNP: Do you really think these aryan pagans have a real influence on how to define christianity? Maybe, if given enough publicity by all these boycott calls they may become more influential. In times when trust in the political establishment is waning, such calls and warnings – well meant, of course – might easily achieve the opposite result.