Wearing V For Vendetta Guy Fawkes Masks Declared Illegal In Dubai

from the self-defeating-actions dept

The evolution of the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask from a clever element in a comic book and film to a meme and a global symbol of online and offline resistance has been quite remarkable. A highlight of that trend was earlier this year when MPs in the Polish parliament donned the masks in protest against ACTA, spurred on by massive street demonstrations against the treaty that had recently been held across Poland.

But if the mask has become a way of empowering and uniting protesters, aligning them with other movements around the world, it also becomes an obvious badge of dissent and rebellion, marking them out as a likely enemy of established power structures. It was thus probably only a matter of time before simply wearing a Guy Fawkes mask became grounds enough for the police to move in, as here:

Police officials in Dubai have warned against wearing a mask that symbolises opposition to state authority during any celebrations connected to National Day and declared it illegal.

Any person found wearing Guy Fawkes masks, also known as “Vendetta masks”, risks police questioning as any object or action deemed to be instigating unrest or insulting the UAE is illegal, police officials said.

Of course, this simply strengthens the credentials of anyone wearing such a mask, whether in Dubai or elsewhere. And that, in turn, will encourage others around the world to adopt it as a symbol of protest, probably prompting more governments to declare it as “illegal”, which will boost its iconic power yet further.

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Comments on “Wearing V For Vendetta Guy Fawkes Masks Declared Illegal In Dubai”

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33 Comments
Lord Binky says:

Being that ‘ANY object or action deemed to be instagting unrest or insulting the UAE is illegal’, this isn’t specifically a rule for just this mask but just pointing out their blanket rule covers this specific item.

This same rule could be applied to one of those colored rubber wrist bands. This is business as usual for the UAE and fully in line with how their government has presented itself.

Anonymous Coward says:

so women wearing berkas or other forms of veil is fine, but anyone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask is basically an instant suspect of wrong doing? sounds about right. also sounds as if Fascism is alive and well in more countries than we gave it credit for. i wonder why it was so bad then but seems as if it is being adopted in so many places now? exactly what is/are the differences between the two now or is it just that those in power today think that it’s different because they are the ones dishing it out rather than being on the receiving end?

Violated (profile) says:

Masks of Mayhem

I can only think parents need to let this kids loose in Dubai wearing these Guy Fawkes “V for Vendetta” masks. Would police really arrest a group of kids with no political motivation beyond enjoying wearing a mask?

The ironic part of all this is that political protesters can easily pick another mask to wear while running rampant with their anarchy. It is true that people enjoy the mask and see it as a symbol of anti-Government protests but of course the mask is not reflective of the person behind it.

They seem to overlook that our history is filled with masks, when a person simply wants to be someone else or unknown for the evening, from the state ballroom to the darkest back alleys.

Lord Binky says:

Re: Masks of Mayhem

It’s really a reasonable warning for the laws they have in place. They said it is risky to wear the mask in celebrations connected to their National Day because the intent behind the wearing it at that specific time is going to be hard to defend as not purposely insulting their government or instigating unrest.

This isn’t talking about halloween, this isn’t talking about a costume party, this is pointing out that during celebrations of their government wearing this mask because of what it symbolizes will directly violate their law with little room for innocent poor timing if that’s even possible.

They have this power year round for any mask, any object, or any actions that they determine insults the UAE or instigates unrest. Of course any mask could work for a protestor, but all their choices are equally illegal because of the intent and how general their law is.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Masks of Mayhem

> The ironic part of all this is that
> political protesters can easily pick
> another mask to wear while running
> rampant with their anarcy.

The UAE is a monarchy, which is basically a nicer-sounding euphemism for dictatorship. I’m not sure why everyone is surprised when a dictator dictates.

However, to your point about protesters just finding another mask, I’ll point out that in our supposedly enlightened non-dicatatorship constitutional republic, here in the USA, at least one state– North Carolina– has outlawed *all* masks.

It’s illegal to obscure your face in public in North Carolina with anything. No Fawkes masks, no masks of any kind are allowed. The statute makes an exception for bona fide religious practices and it does not apply during the week in which Halloween falls. Other than that, the cops can (and will) arrest you for wearing a mask in public.

loudifier (user link) says:

Is anyone else reminded of Shadow of the Hegemon?

In Shadow of the Hegemon, part of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game universe, a girl named Virlomi convinces villagers to block roads used by military occupiers with piles of stones. The stones become a symbol of resistance, and anyone caught holding a stone of any size is instantly a rebel. In the book, it leads to a full-scale rebellion.

This situation with the Guy Fawkes masks reminds me of that. An overbearing government takes something simple and harmless, and turns it into the symbol of a revolution.

Guy Fawkes says:

Guy Fawkes Mask

In dubai, is forbidden using these masks, even be a mislim country, they allow discos and selling alcohol for turists, this’s against Islam, but they do, these rich arabs from dubai, come to london, stay in luxurious hotels, 17 thousand ? a night, in hyde park corner, with prostitutes, champanhe 14% alcohol, french caviar, Rolls Royce cars, and sniffing coca?ne, dirty busters!!!!!!

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