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The Man Behind The Mask

By Ibrahim

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

So goes the catchy rhyme that has immortalised the legend of Guy Fawkes and the myths and misunderstandings that go with it. Today, he is best remembered as a mask, a shadow that fought the totalitarianism of governments and revelled in the anarchy. No doubt made popular by the movie V for Vendetta and featuring in several of Alan Moore's comics, his name is today synonymous with Anonymous, the online hacktivists who keep even the most powerful of regimes glancing nervously behind their backs, should they decide to ransack their online property and divulge trade secrets. Yes, today he stands against the tyranny and oppression of the rulers of the world.

But was it always so? History has a funny way of being misinterpreted, where Che's face is now the poster boy of consumerism and Bob Marley's image has more to do with his consumption of marijuana than his brilliant music. The same could be said of Guy Fawkes. Back in his day, he was not the revolutionary that his image now suggests. He was a Catholic mercenary who had previously fought in The Eighty Years War for the Spanish Catholics. Given your position and own personal bias, his actions can be interpreted in several different ways. He was caught in an attempt to blow up the Parliament House in England and his plan to assassinate the then King James I, in what would be aptly called the Gun Powder Plot. From certain perspectives, he could be either viewed as a religious terrorist who got caught in attempted mass murder or as a key part of the movement that tried to bring down the oppressive Protestant rule of their day.

Late last year, this writer noticed several messages and statuses and pictures being put up on Facebook on the 5th of November proclaiming the heroism that Guy Fawkes demonstrated in the face of adversity. It was a bit disconcerting because the 5th of November was originally meant to be a day celebrating the failure of the Gun Powder Plot and the fact that Guy Fawkes and his cronies were caught. Guy Fawkes was captured that day and, with the aid of his confession, his accomplices were caught and Fawkes was hanged on this day, January the 31st.

Everything as we know it, depends solely on how we interpret the things that are present among us. Guy Fawkes is no different. Anonymous will point to his rebellion against tyranny and the way in which he embraced certain death to fight for what he believed was right, as the reason for his face being the symbol of Anonymous and their role as the wayward guardian of free will on the internet. But what if he had succeeded? What then? Would history have looked back on him with the same romanticism that it does now, had he murdered and maimed thousands of innocent people that day? It wasn't his intention to be caught so it's pretty obvious that he was determined to bring the country to its knees and into a state of anarchy. The movie V for Vendetta shows that the main character actually succeeds in blowing up the Parliament. But away from the Hollywood-tinted romanticism, is it really something that you or I would like to condone or, even worse, celebrate? I'll let you people make up your own minds about this.


Jimmy Hendrix seems to be all over this issue. Unfortunately, our Beta Writers submissions didn't seem to be inspired by last week's topic, Purple Haze, one of the most iconic songs by Hendrix. The following piece takes a very different approach, so better take it with a pinch of salt. For next week, the topic is 'Honey'. Write-ups should be between 350-500 words and sent to: ds.risingstars@gmail.com. Good luck.


By Namira Shameem

It was getting hot in here. I was sure the temperature had reached a hundred and eighty four degrees. Wow, I could tell the temperature precisely. Amazing, right?

So hot, in fact, that I thought I had started to hallucinate. Or developed an inexplicable power of vision. I thought I could see the smallest particles of matter: atoms. Yes; or maybe my fragile world was disintegrating into a million little pieces and I could see each one of them. I could even see the sub-particles inside these atoms, the electrons and protons. My eyes formed a more technologically developed electron microscope, capturing every single detail.

I started counting these particles, trying to take my mind off the issue that caused this. One, two, three….fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three. Each of the atoms of the shattered pieces contained fifty-three protons and electrons…

My fuzzy brain started rewinding the situation; I tried to remember what had really happened. My heart was solid, deoxygenated, bluish-black, till I met her. That's when I started feeling all hot and sweaty and intoxicated by powerful emotions.

I felt sore from having to hold it all in. I wanted to confess how I felt about her, take a chance. So today, when I saw her in my chemistry class, I knew that this was the moment, my opportunity.

We were told to form ourselves into groups. She was new and I decided to approach her, invite her to my group. She accepted, which I found encouraging. She looked at me intently, and I stared back.

“Well…what are you planning to do today?” I asked.

It seemed like she didn't hear me. I tried again. “Oh-kay…So what's up? What are you planning to experiment today?” She remained quiet, still observing me, a smile playing around the corners of her mouth. Finally, she spoke.

“My favourite colour is purple.”

And that's when I felt my heart uplift. That was my favourite colour too! Hearing her speak such simple words for the first time made my bluish-black world erupt into a purple haze. I kept myself aloft, diffusing myself around her. But suddenly she got irritated. She got angry and upset.

“Oh God, I hate this!” she kept muttering. She got to work once more. She took the beaker and added something with the label 'Ammonia' on it.

I felt I was losing my identity. The Greek 'iode' that my name, Iodine, was derived from, began to lose its meaning. I felt myself being torn apart; half of me was in the air, and half in my original place. I felt confused. Her eyes turned watery and she began to rub it. What had I done? I wondered. I had turned a brown solid.

Then she touched me. With her bare hands. And I exploded.

Leaves of Fading Time

By Asraarur Khan

Leaves wither as the wind blows in,
A cold breeze of winter's shadow.
The horizon darkening
like a forgotten sin.
As time washes away all our sorrows.

We forget and move on through lies,
As dying leaves blow away
under barren skies.
Washed away are our sins and guilt,
Left behind are our memories to wilt.

Ties of love bound for eternity,
Broken through times cruel apathy.
Words of grace and endless compassion,
Mis-construed through
times lurking deception.
Lies of a race forgotten through ages,
Revealed among time's unread pages.

And as stars come and
go across ominous skies,
the years simply flow,like flagrant lies.
We live on as though we care not,
About the memories
and ripples we begot.

Rising in the distance , an endearing hope.
A new found day with countless roads.
As the final leaves are shed to reveal,
The beauty beneath our hidden ordeals.

Car Corner

My wife told me the car wasn't running well, there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was, and she told me it was in the lake.


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