Und während ich so an die Briten dachte…
Security around Westminster Palace (Houses of Parliament) was tight this week. Several big votes (including one on giving the government even more anti-terror powers), the Queen’s birthday and a visit by President George Bush. Downing Street off of Whitehall and the entire Westminster Palace complex was crawling with cops, bomb-sniffing dogs and road barriers.
The government caught a terrorist ring planning on blowing up the Houses of Parliament (with the Parliament inside). Caught one of the ringleaders red-handed in a basement a few blocks away with enough explosives to send the whole place ka-blooey!
Of course it was in 1605.
The city of York is in east-central England about two hours north of London. It was a virtual gold-mine for WTH: I’ll be plucking posts out of my visit there yesterday on and off for two years. The most imposing feature is the massive York Minster, one of the largest and most historically rich cathedrals in all of Europe. Literally on the same foundation was a Roman fortress, a Anglo-Saxon church, a Norman cathedral in the Romanesque style and finally the massive Gothic structure bearing the likenesses of kings from William the Conqueror to Henry the Fifth.
Among other things, it was on this spot in York that Constantine the Great was declared emperor of Rome while he was visiting the Roman fortress with his imperial father. When dad croaked there in 302 AD the legion and entourage accompanying him straight away declared him emperor. He would go on, of course, to be the first emperor to convert to Christianity, make Christianity the official state religion, sponsor the Council of Nicea and found city of Constantinople and the eastern Roman Empire. But it all started right here, on the building site occupied by the York Minster cathedral.
Now if you walk, as I did yesterday, what is for me an 8-iron shot’s distance from that spot you run into an old inn and pub. A plaque outsides announces it as the birthplace in 1570 of someone named Guy Fawkes and the little Catholic church (that detail is important) not 15 feet across the cobblestone lane as where he was christened.
So here’s the situation: Elizabeth I — the Virgin Queen, the queen of Shakespeare and Drake and the Spanish Armada — had died. Now her dad had been Henry VIII, who broke with the Roman Catholic Church and founded the Church of England over the issue of his divorce. Elizabeth’s reign had been dominated by struggles for political control between Catholics and Protestants.
When Elizabeth dies the next in the succession is James I, also a protestant, and with him on the throne the Protestant control of the government would solidify. So a group of Catholic — what would you call them? patriots? revolutionaries? insurrectionists? terrorists? — hatch a bold plot: to blow up the Houses of Parliament (Westminster Palace) on the day on the annual opening day of the House of Lords when the King, his family and most of the aristocracy would all be in the room. In the ensuing chaos, their Catholic co-conspirators would seize control and put a Catholic king on the throne. There is some evidence that they may have been funded by the Spanish government in the Netherlands at the time (the same government that had lost its Armada and was tired of English privateers capturing their galleons of gold and so forth). The whole plan was known as The Gunpowder Plot and these dudes in the big hats were the inner ring of the conspiracy:
Even though Guy Fawkes — the guy born in that inn in York an 8-iron shot from York Minster where Constantine became emperor — wasn’t the brains of the operation he was put in charge of executing the plan because he had spent some time in the military and had more experience with explosives than any of the other guys.
The plot itself may have been occasioned by the realisation by Protestant authorities and Catholic recusants that the Kingdom of Spain was in far too much debt and fighting too many wars to assist Catholics in Britain. Any possibility of toleration by Great Britain was removed at the Hampton Court conference in 1604 when King James I attacked both extreme Puritans and Catholics. The plotters realised that no outside help would be forthcoming unless they took action themselves. Fawkes and the other conspirators rented a cellar beneath the House of Lords having first tried to dig a tunnel under the building. This would have proved difficult, because they would have had to dispose of the dirt and debris. (No evidence of this tunnel has ever been found). By March 1605, they had hidden 1800 pounds (36 barrels, or 800 kg) of gunpowder in the cellar. The plotters also intended to abduct Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth of Bohemia, the „Winter Queen“).
But the authorities got wind that something was up and neighbors became suspicious of Fawkes lurking around the basement door and looking agitated with a riding coat and spurs like he was about to gallop off in a hurry. They tipped off the authorities who apparently put two and two together and figured out what was going on. On November 5, 1605 they burst into the basement and catch Guy Fawkes guarding his 36 barrels:
Lord Monteagle had been made suspicious, however; the letter was sent to the Secretary of State, who initiated a search of the vaults beneath the House of Lords in the early morning of 5 November. Peter Heywood, a resident of Heywood, Lancashire, was reputedly the man who snatched the torch from Guy Fawkes’s hand as he was about to light the fuse to detonate the gunpowder. Fawkes, who had resigned himself to blowing himself up along with Parliament, was taken before the privy council where he remained defiant. When asked by one of the Scottish lords what he had intended to do with so much gunpowder, Fawkes answered him, „To blow you Scotch beggars back to your own native mountains.“
They wanted to know the names of the other conspirators and the details of plan so they could roll up the rest of the terrorist cell. Fawkes holds out and tells them nothing, so King James authorizes the use of mild torture (whatever that meant). Fawkes still won’t give up the names so the interrogators go back to the king and get permission to rachet up the torture to a more, uh, effective, level. Apparently they found that level because Fawkes confesses and gives up the names. Everyone gets rounded up.
But of course there must be consequences and examples made when you try to blow up the government, and in Fawkes‘ case he and a bunch of his colleagues are sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. Just in case any of you are unclear on the proceedure let me recap. You are hung by the neck, but not until you are dead, just enough to make you suffer. Then you are drawn alive: they cut a hole in your abdomen and pull out your intestines like a string, dipping them in boiling oil as they go so you can really „feel the burn.“ Finally, to finish it off, they chop off your head and quarter your body, chopping you up into four pieces and putting them on public display. Oh, and all of this is done in public so the crowd can — one hopes — catch the object lesson and not do anything as naughty as what you did.
Guy Fawkes, however, makes a dramatic end: when he gets up on the gallows and they put the noose around his neck he doesn’t let them lower him slowly, instead he does a dramatic swan dive, hits the end of the rope and dies instantly, sparing himself from suffering the rest of the procedure. They go ahead with the drawing and the quartering anyway (since they’ve gone to the trouble of getting out all the tools and carrying on with all his colleagues anyway).
In what strikes me as sort of weird basis for a holiday King James I declares November 5 Guy Fawkes Day with fireworks and pint-drinking and all manner of hullabaloo because the Kingdom was saved from the Gunpowder Plot (I mean, doesn’t that just give the dude more publicity and give more attention to their cause?). And so to this day it’s celebrated as Bonfire Night throughout the UK.
Quelle : http://smithgreg.com
When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, her cousin James VI of Scotland became James I of England. James was a Protestant. He did not allow Catholics to practise their religion. Instead, he ordered Catholic priests to leave the country and he forced Catholics to attend Protestant church services. Recusants (Catholics who didn’t attend Protestant church services) were punished.
This made Catholics angry, and a small group of them planned to kill the king by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. The conspirators knew that on 5th November 1605 the king and other nobles would be at the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening. That was the day when they wanted to blow them all up.
On 26th October a nobleman called Lord Monteagle received an anonymous letter telling him not to go to the State Opening. Lord Monteagle was a Catholic – this is probably why he received the letter. He was also loyal to the king, however, and immediately passed the letter on to him. So now the king knew about the plot.
Quelle : http://www.ego4u.de
Guy Fawkes (eigentlich Guido Fawkes, auch Faux oder Faukes; * 13. April 1570 in Stonegate, York; † 31. Januar 1606 in London) war ein englisch-katholischer Offizier, der am 5. November 1605 ein Attentat auf den englischen König Jakob I. versuchte.
Guy Fawkes, einziger Sohn von Edward Fawkes und seiner Ehefrau Edith Blake, wurde in Stonegate, Grafschaft Yorkshire, geboren und in der Kirche St. Michael-le-Belfry getauft. Nach dem Besuch der St. Peter’s School konvertierte er im Alter von 16 Jahren zum Katholizismus. Fawkes diente viele Jahre lang als Soldat und erlangte dabei Kenntnisse im Umgang mit Sprengstoff. 1593 verdingte er sich in der Armee des Erzherzogs Albrecht VII. von Österreich in den Niederlanden und kämpfte dort gegen die Protestanten im sogenannten Achtzigjährigen Krieg. 1596 war er an der Belagerung und Einnahme von Calais beteiligt. Bis 1602 war er zwar nicht über den Rang eines Fähnrichs hinausgekommen, war aber als mutiger und entschlossener Soldat ausgezeichnet worden. Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby und seine Mitverschwörer versuchten am 5. November 1605, das englische Parlament im Palast von Westminster in London in die Luft zu sprengen. Der Grund hierzu lag in der Verfolgung, der Angehörige der katholischen Kirche ausgesetzt waren. Für das Attentat hatte er bereits 36 Fässer mit mehr als zwei Tonnen Schwarzpulver in den Kellern der Gebäude deponiert (daher auch die englische Bezeichnung „Gunpowder Plot“ für das Attentat), die er zu diesem Zweck als Lagerraum gemietet hatte. Fawkes plante, mit dem Anschlag am Tag der Parlamentseröffnung im House of Lords König Jakob I. samt Familie, alle Parlamentsmitglieder, alle Bischöfe des Landes und den Großteil des Hochadels zu töten sowie anschließend einige politische Gefangene aus dem Tower von London zu befreien.
Einer der Mitverschwörer schrieb einen Warnbrief an Lord Monteagle (William Parker, 4. Baron Monteagle), der bei ihm am 26. Oktober einging. Die Verschwörer bekamen Kenntnis von dem Warnbrief, ließen sich jedoch von ihrem Vorhaben nicht abbringen, nachdem Fawkes versichert hatte, dass der Sprengstoff nicht angerührt worden sei.
Guy Fawkes und der eingelagerte Sprengstoff wurden dann vom Friedensrichter Thomas Knyvet am Morgen des 5. November bei einer Inspektion der Keller unter dem Parlament entdeckt. Unter Folter bekannte der in den Tower gebrachte Fawkes sein geplantes Verbrechen und nannte auch seine Mitverschwörer, die am 30. Januar 1606 durch Hängen, Ausweiden und Vierteilen hingerichtet wurden. Einen Tag später sollte auch Guy Fawkes hingerichtet werden. Er verkürzte die Strafe, indem er kurz vor dem Hochziehen mit der Schlinge um den Hals vom Galgenpodest sprang und sich das Genick brach.
Bis heute ist in Großbritannien dieses Attentat nicht vergessen. Man feiert jedes Jahr am 5. November das Scheitern des Komplottsmit einem Straßenumzug in der Guy Fawkes Night, bei dem eine Guy-Fawkes-Puppe verbrannt wird und Feuerwerke entzündet werden. Sie wird auch Bonfire Night oder Fireworks Night genannt. Die Nacht geht zurück auf ein populäres Gedicht:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
’twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
den Rest sparen wir uns,Propaganda!
Quelle : WikiPedia