Each year on the fifth of November we watch V for Vendetta. We have been doing this now for many years.
We do this not only because the film is really very good but because it is increasingly (in our opinion) apt. The film is based on a famous graphic novel by Alan Moore written primarily between 1982-1985.
The content reminds one of George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and in some ways is a contemporary of works like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale published in 1985.
You see as 1984 approached people began to think about the novel by Orwell written in 1948 and how prescient it seemed to be. Moore wrote V as an Englishman living in the heart of Margaret Thatcher’s England and this no doubt influenced his work as well.
Questions were asked – what was a government and, more importantly, the people running it, willing to do to ensure continued authority and delivery of its policies, which, after all, were only for the good of the people.
Speaking of the people one is forced to ask what they were willing to give up in the face of authority and loud voices? How passive are people anyhow?
Just as Orwell was heavily influenced by the realities of WW2 and post-war England so Moore in influenced by Thatcherism, Conservatism and the Cold War era. What is a government willing to do TO its people in order to preserve its version of the people?
Scary questions no doubt.
So with V Moore enshrouds an idea with a character known as V and stylized after Guy Fawkes, a noted figure in British history who was arrested on Nov. 5 1605 for plotting to blow up the House of Lords.
Fawkes became a figure of rebellion against tyrannical government (although he was, in fact, anti-protestant and religiously motivated) and November 5 is known as Guy Fawkes Day in England.
The day has been celebrated practically every year since 1605. There is a reference to it in John Milton’s poem In Quintum Novembris (On the Fifth of November) written by the 17 year old in Latin in 1626 where he closes the poem with the words:
“in the whole year no day is celebrated more than the Fifth of November.“
The premise and standard celebration of Guy Fawkes Day has been to celebrate the capture and execution of a traitor to England and the crown. Bonfires are built and set ablaze into which are thrown Guy Fawkes dolls to be burned in effigy by children reciting a popular nursery rhyme (whose age eludes me) referred to as The Bonfire Cry.
The Bonfire Cry
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d (or by God’s mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holla boys, holla boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!
Over time there has grown a definite sense of irony in the historical root of the day as it has taken on more of a sense of almost celebration of Guy Fawkes and the idea of taking control of government, monarchy and the like.
In more recent history the decentralized, anarchist group Anonymous became known partly for their use of Guy Fawkes masks in their presentations focused on criticizing abusive aspects of government such as censorship and authoritarianism. In this instance the group is referencing Fawkes through the filter of V for Vendetta.
And so now we find ourselves on the eve of another November 5th, 415 years after the events of Guy Fawkes, more than 40 years since the publication of V for Vendetta and 15 years since the movie was released.
We find ourselves also on the eve of an American election critical to, and no doubt impactful upon, the future – not simply of the United States but the world.
Herein lies the point of this small piece.
Whether you have seen it before or not at all, consider finding and watching V for Vendetta on November 5th. Watch it and consider at the same time the world around you. Watch it through the filter of today and global affairs.
I would also encourage you to purchase the graphic novel and read it.
Specifically, her business provides services to individuals and businesses with Technology & Social Business Consulting including fractional CIO services, Diversity Consulting, Career Coaching for individuals, and a wide variety of Public Speaking topics.
Ms. Fortlage developed the 5 steps to Acceptance without Understanding™ and shares her insights through various mediums including blogs, plays, consultations, training, coaching and mentorship.
Using her skills as a leader, coach, actor, parent, and public speaker as the basis for which she builds upon and shares these unique experiences and applicability of Acceptance without Understanding™ regarding family, career, and life in general to help others who are on their journey in life.
Since 2017 She is Board President of Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg, Canada. Rainbow Resource Centre is Manitoba’s only dedicated LGBT+ resource centre and it is the longest continually running LGBT+ centre in Canada for the past 46 years.
In 2019 she was asked to lead the National Board of Women’s March Canada, a feminist organization focused on evolving from a march to a movement for women’s rights in Canada.
Ms. Fortlage is well spoken and publicized with media, analysts, vendors, and clients and has presented in more than 150 events in 17 countries.
Ms. Fortlage will be joined by local resident Grayson L’Hirondelle during Q&A where both will be available to answer questions about being transgender.
“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”
It will be four years this December since Diversitas was first launched. Can you believe it? By the time December rolls around we will have had 21 amazing speakers in that time.
Looking back on it I am frankly surprised by how well received it has been and the quality of our speakers (not to mention our audience). It has been an uplifting experience.
Moving forward we will be making some changes to ensure we do not stagnate. Starting in 2020 Diversitas Films is going to be a regular part of Diversitas.
We will be showcasing movies that speak to the human condition to one degree or another. As with the speakers these films will not be the kind of movies we would have had access to in our area (not so mainstream).
The film presentations will be FREE just like our speaker series has been.
We will still entertain speakers from time to time but for the foreseeable future films will take the main stage.
When done well, movies have the potential to be the ultimate form of art blending the visual, the written, and the musical realms into one symphony of meaning and sensory experience.
As they say a picture is worth a thousand words so a film is boundless in its ability to communicate timeless truths.
We will not shy away from controversial content but you will always know in advance what you are in for.
As the first of the Diversitas Films series (yet to be scheduled) we will likely watch Wings of Desire by German director Wim Wenders. Stay tuned for more information and thanks for your ongoing support.
We are still waiting to confirm (or not) our date with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh for May. If this is not confirmed our next event will be in September.
The Yazidis are a mostly Kurmanji speaking minority ethnoreligious group, indigenous to a region of northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northern Syria and southeastern Turkey). Many Yazidis consider Yazidism both an ethnic and a religious identity. Their religion, Yazidism, is also called Sharfadin by Yazidis. It is a monotheistic religion and has elements of ancient mesopotamian religions. (From Wikipedia)
Our speaker – Nafiya Naso is one of more than 1,200 Yazidi’s in Canada, almost 400 of whom live in Winnipeg. Naso is a Yazidi social worker with Jewish Child and Family Services who was a child when she arrived in Canada as a refugee.
RE-SCHEDULED! Editor-in-Grand-Chief Tim Fontaine of Walking Eagle News presents on humour in the Indigenous context. You do not want to miss this. After Mr. Fontaine’s re-scheduled presentation on Feb. 25 at 7 pm at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden. There will be an open Q&A time and opportunity to meet and greet.
FROM WALKING EAGLE NEWS WEBSITE: Since launching in 2017, Walking Eagle News has emerged as the foremost leader in the world of Indigenous news. We are your finest source of Indigenous news, anywhere.
Tim Fontaine is the Founder, Editor-in-Grand-Chief and Head Writer. He started Walking Eagle News as a means of setting his illustrious journalism career on fire and dancing in its ashes.
Tim Fontaine was a real journalist for almost two decades before becoming a pretend journalist and worked for APTN National News, iChannel, CPAC and CBC Indigenous.
A member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, he grew up mainly on the Hollow Water First Nation and in Winnipeg. He currently lives in Winnipeg where he single-handedly invented and refined Indigenous journalism.
The speakers for the 2019 Diversitas series are set and include the subjects of Indigenous Satire, the Yazidis, Sikhs, and the Transgender community.
Starting the year off on Jan. 23 at 7 pm at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre will be Editor-In-Grand-Chief of Walking Eagle News Tim Fontaine whol will be speaking about satire and humour as it relates to the Indigenous community. Fontaine’s wildly successful Walking Eagle News has more than 10,000 followers on Facebook after only one year since its inception.
Fontaine’s website declares “Tim Fontaine was a real journalist for almost two decades before becoming a pretend journalist and worked for APTN National News, iChannel, CPAC and CBC Indigenous. A member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, he grew up mainly on the Hollow Water First Nation and in Winnipeg. He currently lives in Winnipeg where he single-handedly invented and refined Indigenous journalism.”
Following Fontaine on April 10 Nafiya Naso will be speaking about the Yazidi community, their culture, history and recent persecution at the hands of ISIS.
Naso, founder of the Yazidi Community of Manitoba, came to Canada at the age of 10 after spending six years in a refugee camp with her family and now spends time assisting more recently arrived Yazidis.
In May Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will come to Diversitas to present on Sikhs and Sikhism in Canada.
With a growing community of hundreds in the Pembina Valley the Sikh community is becoming an integral part of the region making an educational session such as this make sense.
After a summer break Diversitas will be back on September 11 with a presentation on Being Transgender from Cynthia Fortlage is a board member of Women’s March Canada, former president and board member of Winnipeg’s Rainbow Resource Centre and brings wealth of experience. Fortlage is also VP of Information Technology for GHY International.
“It’s a truly great lineup for 2019,” said Diversitas founder Peter Cantelon. “It continues to push forward the goals of Diversitas to educate and inform people in the Pembina Valley in areas they might otherwise have no information on.”
Since it started in 2015 Diversitas has hosted 19 speakers on subjects ranging from Islam, Judaism, Antisemitism, Women & Feminism, Human Rights, Palestinians, Indigenous Peoples, and more.