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
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.

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Comments on “Bahrain Bans The Import Of Guy Fawkes Masks”

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Christopher Best (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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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