Bahrain Bans The Import Of Guy Fawkes Masks

from the building-a-martyr dept

No longer simply a clever story mechanic in a comic book, the Guy Fawkes mask featured in the film V For Vendetta is now a universal symbol of dissent. That dissent was depicted in the film to be primarily targeting overbearing governments and is also the reason many of the real world wearers don it. The very point of the mask, to me, is to at once remain anonymous while also breed solidarity with all who wear it. It says that the wrong being done is being done against all. In that way, the mask has become as sweet as it is admittedly creepy.

2nd Anoniversary
Aaaaaaaaaah!
Image source: CC BY 2.0


It's the fact that the point behind the mask was solidarity against oppression that made Dubai's move to outlaw the masks so misguided. But they are no longer the only nation to do so. Bahrain has now banned the import of the masks, trying desperately to stave off a 2-years running protest movement. The ban came from the country's commerce department, because apparently they don't think that masks can be made by their citizens. As The Independent noted:

Sadly, though, it is but a mask. And the thing about a masks is, you can print them, paint them or draw them yourself. Unless the minister plans to ban all such activity it seems an action as futile as the real Guy Fawkes's.
Not so much futile, in my opinion, as mega-back-firing. Bahrain has now perfectly exemplified an oppressive government by taking action against the symbol of resistance to that oppression. If they thought the masks bred solidarity, I'm guessing they haven't seen anything yet.




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Christopher Best (profile), Mar 4th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

    There was a really key scene in the original V for Vendetta book, where Evey goes to unmask V, and imagines what she'll find. For a moment she expects to see her father's face. However, the face she finally decides she should see is her own.

    The point was that who was under the Guy Fawkes mask didn't matter: V was everyone. V was an idea. "And ideas are bulletproof."

    Banning the importation of these masks is the ultimate in shortsighted stupidity. It only draws more attention to the idea under the mask, and will just make things worse...

    Besides, if you're going to be a good police state, let them be imported and track the purchases. Then disappear whoever buys them. Yeesh. Way to fail at being an evil, oppressive regime, Bahrain.

     

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  2.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

    Attention, Bahranian novelty shops...

    ... Head over to Archie MacPhee and stock up on those horse-head masks! Great for anonymous protests, and pretty damned amusing at parties, too!

     

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  3.  
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    yaga (profile), Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    I have to disagree. Banning them gives them the perfect opportunity to arrest everyone wearing the masks since there's no way they could have been made in Bahrain. wink wink

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:04pm

    Do these masks remind politicians that they only rule as long as the people will let them, and that an organised opposition can remove them from power.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    USA, USA, USA

    Don't we have a military base there?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    Re: USA, USA, USA

    Bahrain sounds like it has oil, in which case it might be time for democracy to spread over there!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:37pm

    Inoculation

    "...the hardest virus to kill is an idea...”

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    Good. Maybe now they will start wearing any number of masks other rebellious comic characters wear. Maybe Bahrain will become Batman.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re:

    No, they just don't want any more cheap, made in china, Guy Fawkes masks being imported.

    Think of all the little Bahrain children that will be employed in slave like conditions because of this ruling.

     

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  10.  
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    Flotsam, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Easy to circumvent

    The traditional Guy Fawkes mask sold in the UK for November 5th celebrations were made from papier-mâché. You just need one plastic mask to use as a mould and you can make as many papier-mâché copies as you like. Too easy.

     

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  11.  
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    gorehound (profile), Mar 4th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    Where Islam Walks Freedom Runs !

     

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  12.  
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    Capt ICE Enforcer, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Headline

    Two Year Protest.... FINALLY OVER. Three Cheers to Bahrain's Government. Good Job Guys, Good Job.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: USA, USA, USA

    No No, you've got it wrong.

    We only spread democracy to countries that don't sell us oil.

    Just look at our good friends Saudi Arabia.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    almost all countries are behaving in the same oppressive way, it's just that at this moment, only a few have gone to the extreme of banning the mask. the same things are being done everywhere to stamp out what the people are able to do when they disagree with the government. the financial crisis of 5 years ago is a prime example. the countries affected by it have all reacted in basically the same way. cut public sector jobs, increased the working age, reduced the pension payments, reduced benefits, kept pay at a minimum (whilst letting company execs have the biggest rises in years!) by no rises or even reductions and reducing services. funny how every country was affected in the same way and has to take the exact same steps to correct the problems. funny how only the poorest members of society get hit and hit the hardest but the rich dont get targeted at all! funny how costs are increasing on an almost daily basis for even the most basic of needs, like gas, power and fuel. i am waiting to see how long it takes before there are more people with nothing and nowhere to live than have somewhere to live. all thanks to the elite few who care about nothing but having wealth and power!

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    Bahrain is so far past that point. A majority of the population is very dissatisfied with the regime. Trying to disappear half the country is probably not where they want to go anyway. When the middle eastern spring was at its hight they got help from Saudi Arabian military resources to crush the rebellion. The most prominent people from the rebellion was tortured and executed and everyone saying anything that could be seen as negative about the king are sentenced to prison for life.

    Bahrain has pulled even worse stupidity in pure paranoia, like making their own coins with the central square in their capital illegal because it could remind protesters of freedom! This is just another move away from "democracy and freedom" towards a brutal and secluded dictatorship.

     

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  16.  
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    dudhit (profile), Mar 4th, 2013 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Easy to circumvent

    My initial thoughts were to make them in-house and not import them (everyone wants to buy stuff these days *sigh)
    then I read about time warner owning the right to the mask (from the movie) so question what kind of infringement you'd get don for.
    good incentive to come up with a public domain version.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:38pm

    The next guy masks will come with Google Glass :)

     

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  18.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 5th, 2013 @ 2:07am

    Actually, beyond the fact that is a stupid move that will backlash is also highlights that the Govt FEARS the idea behind the mask and thus they fear the protests.

    It reminds me of the US getting all freaked out with the masks too back when Occupy Wall Street was gaining momentum.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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