Guy Fawkes (April 13,1570 – January 31, 1606)
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
English Folk Verse (c.1870)
But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes and I know in 1605, he attempted to blow up the House of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea and not the man… because man can fail. He can get caught. He can be killed and forgotten.
But 400 years later an idea can still change the world. I’ve witnessed first hand the power of ideas. I’ve seen people killed in the name of them… and die defending them. But you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it or hold it. Ideas do not bleed. They do not feel pain. They do not love.
Transcribed from the opening scene of the film V Is For Vendetta.
The idea and the man still both live. Update. NYT 11/22/19. Hong Kong.
Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times.