Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rock star

Remember Remember the 5th of November:
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder and Treason
Should ever be forgot!

Most Fridays the school day ends with an assembly that goes on for 40 minutes or so.  they celebrate birthdays and give awards and reminders and tally their house points.  Usually a class 'hosts' the assembly and is responsible for preparing a skit.  4A's assigned assembly day fell on 'Guy Fawkes Day' "Bonfire Night" AND "Diwali" and so these were the themes for the assembly.  Owen got to 'be' Guy Fawkes, one of 7 (or 13 depending on what you are reading) conspirators who hatched a plot to blow up Parliament in opposition to King James I's persecution of the Catholics in the year 1605.  We cannot sort out the modern-day logic behind this 'holiday' or why it is still around but we have tried.  We even mis-read something and it made PERFECT sense.  Then we re-read and again, are totally baffled.  I can try to explain.

The 7 somehow gained access to a room below parliament and filled it with explosives (36 barrels of gunpowder!)  They realized somewhere along the way that innocent people would be killed/injured (duh) and so they put out a letter warning people to stay away.  Well, the king also heard of the plan (duh) and the plan was foiled and one of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed on the night of 5th November, down in the little room, ready to ignite the gunpowder.  He (and his compatriots) were sentenced, tortured, and killed.  

One story tells of Guy Fawkes' torture and that as he went up to the gallows to be killed he somehow summoned the strength to escape the guards.  He made a run for it, only to fall, break his neck and die....and then be drawn and quartered along with a few other things, just for good measure.  (do you see a monty python skit in here somewhere?)

So, 5th November is bonfire night....celebrating the overthrow of the 'Gunpowder Plot" and celebrating the safety of the King.  Or, it is celebrating the plot to overthrow the king -- kind of a demonstration or reminder to the King of what was the will of the people? 

To this day, the reigning monarch doesn't go to parliament except once a year to 'open' session.

In any case, Owen's class was going to recite the poem.  But....Owen made up a song to go with the poem and the whole class sang and did instruments.  He is joined on guitar by his good friend Rushil, Emmanuel played the drums the rest had shakers.  It was really sweet and Owen looked like a natural up there.

And Finn....never missing a thing:  We could not get Owen's attention to get a decent photo, but Finn, who is now with O up at 'the big school' never fails to notice when we are there...and when we are not there.  This guy is a tough one.  The kids have received many awards this school year and we have managed to miss the presentation of most of them.  This assembly I came EARLY and Todd came just in the nick of time with the camera.

Part II of the Assembly was Diwali and fireworks safety advice.  Explaining Diwali is much simpler:  a five-day festival of lights celebrating victory of good over evil.  (For Hindus,  the return of Lord Rama from his 14 year exile, or in Jainims and Sikhism commemorating the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji after he freed 52 Hindu kings -- in India it also marks the end of the harvest season.)  We went to the Lotus Club for Diwali night (instead of to Baobab International School's Bonfire Night) and stayed for a 4 hour long music and dance extravaganza and terrifying fireworks show.  They had all low-clearance fireworks and let's just say that when you add the genuine fear of something going terribly wrong to a fireworks show of this scale it adds a whole new dimension to the experience.  It was really impressive but I was so tense the whole time it was hard to 'enjoy.  And for Finn, who never misses a thing remember, it was too much.  We really couldn't blame him.  Perhaps we all should have been that worried.

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