Fireworks should be banned on Guy Fawkes


Filed Under: ,

With the tradition of Guy Fawkes upon us, I thought it was time for a rant. I have a number of points.

Almost every tradition we know has been hijacked, twisted and corrupted in to some form of capitalist consumerist orgy. Many of them have been adopted for no particular reason at all. Recently we celebrated Halloween or All Hallow's Eve. Historically, it marked the beginning of kak cold weather for the Celts. The Christians hijacked it as All Saint's Eve and then the Yanks just went bos with Trick or Treating and carved pumpkins. WTF? So now we spend cash on costumes and decorations and get drunk, which doesn't really honour anything. Easter, supposed to be a Christian festival to mark the resurrection of Jesus. Now we go away on long weekend holidays and splurge wads of cash on chocolate bunnies. Christmas, once again, a Pagan Winter solstice festival, hijacked by Christians and now we spend wads of cash on presents and decorations, we stuff our faces and get drunk. Which brings me to Guy Fawkes.

I doubt 90% of the population in South Africa could even tell you who Guy Fawkes was or why he has a day named after him. The ignorance is further entrenched when these same people call it Guy Fox and probably spell it that way too. It's pronounced the same as 'forks'. Please read up here. Once again, it's linked to Christianity in that Fawkes (Catholic) wanted to blow up the King (Protestant). So very unlike religious types to resort to this violent sort of behaviour, isn't it?

It is an archaic festival, as they all are, but its relevance to South African society can only be drawn by a tenuous link to British colonialism. In effect, Guy Fawkes Eve is a thanksgiving celebration to say "Yay, the King didn't asplode!" Now if you, like me, couldn't give a rat's tonsil about the English Monarchy - any monarchy for that matter - then this celebration is really a load of codswallop.

However, if you, like me, are a pyromaniac then this celebration is a grand excuse for you to run around with matches terrorising all flammable stuff in the vicinity, wild-eyed and grinning, while shouting in your best caveman voice: "MAN MAKE FIRE!" As I said, I'm a pyromaniac, probably a pyrophiliac too. Fire gives me a woody. Okay, maybe not, but I couldn't resist that.

Contrary to some people's belief, setting off fireworks is not supposed to symbolise the gunpowder that Guy Fawkes was to use to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Unless, perhaps, you are a Fawkes sympathiser? Guy Fawkes night is also known as Bonfire Night. The people were so happy to have this conspiracy foiled and the King saved that they lit bonfires in celebration and even burnt effigies of Fawkes (Sometimes they burnt effigies of The Pope too - this being a Catholic plot after all. I somehow think that many Catholics will be setting off fireworks on Guy Fawkes with no knowledge of this fact). It was even declared a public holiday by the Thanskgiving Act of 1605.

Which brings me right up until today when the night is still celebrated, mostly by ignorant fools, by setting off fireworks.

Without mincing words, fireworks are animal cruelty. The loud percussive explosions combined with blinding light are so terrifying to animals that it literally drives them insane. Their hearing, being exponentially more sensitive than ours, makes these explosions overwhelmingly painful and petrifying. Read THIS to find out how inhumane and cruel fireworks are to animals. An excerpt:

Firework displays and celebrations bring confusion, anxiety and fear into the lives of animals, causing many to run away from their homes in an effort to escape the frightening detonations.
Fireworks are not animal-friendly. Invariably, when communities celebrate with fireworks, local shelters and other animal aid organizations are overwhelmed by the "fallout," which manifests in an increased number of stray animals and reports of injuries and trauma to animals.  Those animals who are reunited with their families must consider themselves fortunate.  Many injured or terrorized animals run away from their homes to escape the traumatizing detonations of fireworks.  Some are hit by cars and injured or killed, some are maimed for life, while others are never recovered alive.
Firework explosions can produce a blind panic in animals that can lead to serious injury, deep-rooted, debilitating fears, or even death.  This is, in part, because the events do not last long enough for animals to become accustomed to the explosions.  Moreover, the ears of most animals are considerably more sensitive than the human ear. Therefore, the explosion of a firework (which can emit sounds of up to 190 decibels, a full 110 to 115 decibels higher than the 75- to 80-decibel range, where damage to the human ear begins) not only is proportionately more disturbing to an animal, it can also affect an animal's acute sense of hearing.  And animals who are too close to firework explosions often suffer significant burns and eye damage. Fireworks generate a noise level higher than the noise from gunshots (140 decibels) and low-level flying jets (100 decibels). Irreversible ear damage, such as tinnitus and loss of hearing in humans starts at the 80-decibel range.
There are no "safe" places to hold fireworks displays either. Residential areas have hundreds and thousands of pets. Rural areas have pets, wildlife and horses. Then there's the birds:
If live fireworks come into contact with birds they can cause severe burns and injuries to a bird’s plumage, limbs, eyes and skin. The chemicals used in fireworks, including combustible powders and toxic inks, can also cause gastrointestinal distress if they are ingested, even in small quantities. The loud concussions made by fireworks can damage birds’ sensitive hearing or may cause enough emotional and psychological stress to drive birds away from nests and babies.
So please, join me in supporting the ban on ALL fireworks. They are not necessary. They are but trivial entertainments. Humans go "Ooooh, aaaah, look at the pretty lights with the loud boom!" while thousands of animals are driven to panic, pain, trauma and injury, sometimes death.

If you really want to celebrate Guy Fawkes then why not make a big bonfire? It's bang on tradition, if that's your thing, but more importantly REAL MEN make fires. Building, making and tending to a fire is about as manly as it gets. Flicking a Bic on a fuse is for pussies.

0 comments for this post

Twitter Stream

Visitors to this blog