Reuters image of V for Vendetta masks used in protests

A symbol does not have to be fully understood in order to be effective

The article, from Rosie Waites for the BBC News Magazine offers an interesting perspective for all those Apathetic Anarchists interested in political dynamics. Why is this symbolic image being used in countries that have no affiliation with Guy Fawkes? Is it simply the international reach of Hollywood movies that allows a parochial figure to morph into a global phenomenon? Will the mask and its use be interpreted through the eyes of the central character of the movie, and his violent reaction to an oppressive regime or will it be through the non-violent final chapter of the movie, where thousands of masked citizens front soldiers and police in a vivid show of people-power?

Che Guevara was a human being, with all of the conflicted and illogical traits such a label entails. As well as representing the tortured rebel, seeking to overthrow tyranny and injustice, he was also just as aggressive against individuals or groups that disagreed with his other perspectives on social rights and wrongs. Seeing his famous visage on the tee-shirts of gay people illustrates the ways in which the idea behind such images can be greater than the facts (Che Guevara is accused of being staunchly homophobic, and including gays amongst those sent to internment camps – look it up on Google). So we have an image that is elevated beyond its factual presence and into the realm of mythology.

Is the Guy Fawkes mask about to make that same leap?

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