Why We Should Remember the Fifth of November

Today is the fifth of November, and many of us might have heard of its’ significance. Many of us may also have heard the poem:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent to blow up King and Parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below to prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d with a dark lantern and lighted match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip hoorah!

Now, the latter part of poem is not very well known, however today the first part was all over the internet. Many sites have been defaced with this message today. In fact, there is a mask that is called a Guy Fawkes mask…what is all this about?

The Guy Fawkes mask has become very popular due to the group Anonymous using it to represent them. Now, I will not discuss why Anonymous may have chosen to take this mask up as their emblem. But, there are much greater implications behind this mask than it may seem.

Guy Fawkes was a person. He was part of a plot to blow up the parliament building in England in the early 1600’s. However, his plot failed. He was caught and summarily executed. For years after, November the fifth became a day of remembrance for the people of England; to remember the failed plot. They celebrated the fact that the plot had failed. Yet, slowly, more and more people have come to celebrate Guy Fawkes, he has become increasingly popular. Literature has slowly turned him into a hero. The movie V for Vendetta (I myself have not watched it) contributed greatly to the popularity of Guy Fawkes.

The reason for his being so popular is because Guy Fawkes has come to embody an important idea. He embodies the idea that the government should fear its people, the people should not fear their government. Thomas Jefferson once said, “When the people fear their government, their is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty”.

It is a beautiful idea, an idea that more and more people are coming to accept. Hand in hand with this idea comes the concept that no matter how many people are killed or shut away because they stood up for a certain idea; the idea will forever live on.

When I think about it, I feel That anonymous has come to embody this idea. Many of us may not really care about Anonymous. Some may deem their methods wrong. However, the idea behind Anonymous is very agreeable. In today’s society, the people live forever in fear of the government. It is a sad phenomenon and I have seen it myself.

I went to a wedding once where I did not know anyone. I was sitting at a table and the people around me were discussing politics, particularly the constant drone strikes in Pakistan. Now, these people seemed very passionate about what they were discussing and so I decided to ask them what they would do about their problems. Now, upon asking this question, I got some weird looks. Some men just turned away from me, there was however one man who began discussing this with me eagerly. He was a business man, and he belonged to a community of business men. He had this idea that everyone should take their money out of the banks in order to hurt the government. He kept going on and on about it. I thought it was sort of interesting, but I proceeded to ask him one question.

I mentioned an event that was held recently regarding oppression around the world and I asked him if he was willing to stand up for his beliefs and attend the event next year. All of a sudden the man became defensive. He believed that if he stood up for his idea, than the government would find out. He thought that the government would put his name on some list and try to hurt his business.

What can I say? I mean people tell me not to send them emails with certain content or not to talk about certain things on the phone because “I’m being watched”. Fear of the government much?

So, regardless of whether or not the government does have chips in our homes that listen to our every conversation; it is time for the government to fear us.

It is slowly becoming public knowledge that the government is trying to control us. A bill was recently passed in the house of commons stating that protesters are not allowed to wear masks. I am not sure if it has passed in the senate, but again, the government wants to know who we are. In England, there are cameras all over the streets. The Canadian government might be easing restrictions on the access of our personal information on the internet, so as to make investigations “easier”. However, no one really cares. Sure, there are people who care. But these things seem to slide by very easily without the masses really caring. Why?

Well, all around me I see people immersed in a world called Hollywood. Hollywood is just one example. Everyone is too busy to care about what is going on in the world. So, it seems to me that democracy has become a joke. Every four years we stop to look at different party platforms and vote. After that, we go back to our lives. Each and every one of us is immersed in their own world. Some wait for the next celebrity update, others are waiting for a new movie to come out; the list is endless. We have been provided with every possible “distraction” to keep us away from what really matters.

My point is that we have become ignorant of what is going on in the world. A great example is the newspaper. I remember in grade 5, we would be given newspaper articles and we would be asked to find out if they were biased. We found that a lot of the time, the newspaper only presented one side of the story. But, no one seems to care about that anymore. If CNN and BBC say the same thing, people take it to be the word of God. “It must have happened that way” is what people say. I’m not suggesting that we should become conspiracy theorists. I am just suggesting that the slogan of the Russian news channel, RT, is very interesting, “Question More”.

We need to question more, that is all. We don’t need to blow up parliament buildings or become violent. If the people follow the government’s every move then surely the government will be afraid.

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