Wednesday 5 November 2008

Welcome to The Pogrom

(Repeated from last year, because I'm lazy)

All over the United Kingdom, there will be bonfires and bangers aplenty this weekend.
It's Guy Fawkes Day.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
So goes the mantra.

Oh, it's all good fun, I hear you say.
Throwing a dummy on a bonfire and burning it, whilst setting off fireworks.
And perhaps it is.

Only it isn't really. Not when you look at it, not when you look at the POINT of the party.
It might seem harmless enough watching the local scouts set off some Catherine Wheels by a roaring blaze, whilst everyone holds sparklers and munches hot dogs.

But it wasn't always that innocuous.
And in some parts of the UK, it still isn't.

On the Shankill road, in Toxteth, and in Pollok, they are burning effigies of the Pope, even today.
Two hundred years ago, it was a night that Catholics in these Islands could still expect to live in fear.
A night of Protestant triumphalism comparable to Kristallnacht.

HOUSES got burned.

Let's be honest, at times Catholics in these islands were hated as much as Hitler ever hated the Jews. At best, we were just disenfranchised, barred from any office, forbidden to leave our property to our children and barred from hearing Mass from our own priests- as being a Catholic priest carried the death penalty.
At worst, we were a legitimate target for mob rage, for conspiracy theory, as a catchall for all social evils.

Catholics spread the plague. Catholics started the fire of London.
So November the Fifth, was a night Catholic families stayed up all night, their doors locked, the weapons that it was illegal for them to possess in their hands.

Waiting for the angry, hysterical screams of their Protestant neighbours, torches in hand, descending upon them.

The annual pogrom.

And I'm sure over the years, many Catholics burned to death on November the Fifth at the hands of people they thought were their friends.
That's what pogroms are like.

So remember, when you stand watching the guy burn.
Symbolically, you are burning ALL Catholics. You are cleansing England from the papist scum.

And that, well that incudes me.

So excuse me if I don't join you.


Anonymous said...

i have to admit i did not know a whole bunch about guy fawkes day. seems it was celebrated during american colonial times, but then died out.
religion is truly the source of much evil in this world.
i think it ought to be outlawed.

Anonymous said...

No. I figure it is either a celebration that a plot to blow up parliament with the King failed... Or at least that someone tried, depending on your outlook. ^_^

Guy was a convert who was so fanatical he had been fighting with his co-religionists on the continent. That sort of thing sound familiar? He became a bit of an expert on gunpowder That’s why he got picked by the plotters as the go to guy ^_^ for explosives.

The plot happened to be hatched by extremist Catholics and like lots of plots had holes in it. It has been suggested that they were egged on to it, by shadowy agents. Conspiracy theory stuff. If Mossad and the CIA had been about then they would probably have been in the frame for that.

The state was having real problems with Catholics and Protestants of the more extreme persuasion that had views that were out on the edge, trying to balance the two. Everyone else was stuck in the middle.

Around the time Catholics were having to keep their heads down many Protestants were migrating to the colonies in America, one reason was so they could get to practice their religion freely.

As for your being ”sure over the years, many Catholics burned to death on November the Fifth” Come on, objective evidence please, not lazy in-your-endo.

Anonymous said...

some of our 'traditions' really make no sense to me. not sure why there would even be a guy fawkes day at this point in time. the religious aspects are interesting, but how common is it that people think of it in religious terms? I honestly don't know. indeed, religion has been used to spur a lot of hate in the world, it's an excellent tool of social control. i think in general we need to re-think what we call tradition, realize that as woody allen said it is the illusion of permanence, that most of our traditions combined don't even comprise the thumbnail of human history. that's not to say that traditions don't have their uses, just that we cling to them too rigorously, without thought, sometimes.

Anonymous said...

OK - I am out of my eliment here - never heard of this day before!

Anonymous said...

So benjibopper, How do you feel about Christmas? Shall we keep that one?

Anonymous said...

Foam- I guess it would have less significance post independence.

It can be, if practised dogmatically.

Moggs- I guess we'll never quite get to the truth of it.
They do seem to have been set up, though.

Yes, the church itself was still trying to be all things to all men. It was probably at its most Calvinist in outlook generally at this period though.

Well, yes, I don't have direct evidence, but let's face it, it cdetainly happened.

Benji- Well, this one essentially started life as a pogrom.

Tradition unfortunately acquires a certain mystique. The voices of the deead sometimes carry more weight than the living.

Cat- November 5th. Anniversary of the discovery of a conapiracy to blow up parliament in 1605.