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the 5th November
Right about now,
there are armies of children around Britain foraging for wood and other
combustible material (also known as "chumping") in order to
stack bonfires for the annual ritual which occurs on the 5th November.
Part of the getting ready to set light to Britain also includes making
a Guy Fawkes look-a-like, which gets dragged around and used as an excuse
to demand money from passers-by with the cry of "penny for the
Guy". Then when the big day finally arrives, it gets shoved on
the bonfire as the final salute and it's big send off in glory.
This has been going
on now, for 399 years, ever since the first thwarted "terrorist"
plot by religious zealots attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
Back then, it was
catholic zealots who wanted to change their world using violent and
explosive means and the orders for this treasonous act apparently went
all the way up the chain of religious command, some suggesting even
to the top of the Catholic tree. Guy Fawkes was the man with the match,
who was discovered in the basement of the Parliament buildings in a
rather too compromising situation along with a large quantity of explosives.
Needless to say there were other co-conspirators, all of whom were executed.
But, Fawkes is the guy (sorry!) that people remember and who gets the
roasting every year.
Nowadays, the religious
zealots may be wearing a different mantle, but the methodology for enacting
change hasn't itself changed much in the last 400 years! Some people
still think that the way to solve society's problems involves pyrotechnic
statements of a terminal kind. And just as religious leaders then were
implicated in the dark deeds down in the dungeons, the supposedly spiritual
leaders of some communities now still believe that the road to God should
be a bloody one.
to note that the backlash from the gunpowder plot had the opposite effect
to that which the conspirators desired and resulted in tighter controls
on their brand of religion with apparently public support. Spot any
Isn't it now time
we climbed out of that particular groove of cultural consciousness and
started playing life to a better tune?
Perhaps we could
try the ancient and wise maxim - LIVE AND LET LIVE?
for all the bonfire night revellers - the law of 1605, which compelled
the population to celebrate the thwarted plot, by lighting bonfires
every 5th of November, was repealed in 1859 - so you can stop now!
Hargreaves 31st October 2004)
Remember, remember the 5th November - Hark.net.au