#FreePussyRiot

Before I begin this rant, let me say that I’m aware of the level of outrage at the sentencing of “Pussy Riot” to two years in jail for performing their “punk prayer” at the altar of the Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. However, I have also become acutely aware in the past couple of days of the level of apologies and rationalisation of their actions that has taken place on the internet. Forget about the right-wing reactions – “Let Pussy Riot and all their supporters burn in hell” – there has also been a liberal guilt reaction: “Couldn’t they have performed it anywhere but a church!?” “Didn’t they know what they were bringing down on their heads!?”

Let’s examine this for a moment. They were three young women (and their various entourage) who entered a church with musical equipment. Not guns. Musical equipment. They proceeded to sing a song. Not gun down innocent children. SING A SONG. You know the kind of thing you might engage in yourself, after a few pints at the pub. I don’t know … maybe one of the Wolfe Tone’s finest, such as,

“May the Seagulls rise and pluck your eyes
And the water crush your shell
And the natural gas will burn your ass
And blow you all to hell”

That was in reference to English people in case you missed it and, yes, of course, we all know it’s satirical, blah, blah, blah. I know, I could have found much worse anti-English lyrics if I was bothered, but we all know they’re out there. Let’s face it, if three Irish women got up on an altar in a church in Ireland and sang, “Get Enda out!” we’d all probably have a good laugh about it. There might possibly be an arrest and a caution. Can you imagine if they got TWO YEARS in prison for it?

I have listened to Pussy Riot’s song. I don’t care for it. That matters not a jot. As Voltaire said, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. In the West, we condemn and isolate Bashar al-Assad and North Korea, yet the man who handed down this two year sentence to the women shares the global stage with world leaders. And, have no doubt; it was Putin who handed down this sentence. That is not internet conspiracy theories. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny himself said: “They are in jail because it is Putin’s personal revenge. This verdict was written by Vladimir Putin.”

Freedom of Speech is paramount. Race, religion or creed comes after that. The Russian Orthodox Church is free to practice its beliefs just as much as these women are.

End. Of. Story.

#freepussyriot

 

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5 comments on “#FreePussyRiot

  1. Emma says:

    It’s good to get it all out, Derek. I hadn’t heard about this.

  2. simontall says:

    Thanks for posting this…I agree with everything you say and couldn’t have out it better myself. There isn’t enough protest (peaceful and musical) around these days for my liking. There are too many Kleptocracies in the world (a ‘Kleptocracy’ is a government that steals from its own people). It might seem that Putin doesn’t fit into this category as he was supposedly ‘elected’ (hmmm…a fair election?) but it seems to me that governments that favour rich elites at the expense of the poorer majority (UK? USA?) are simply the reverse of Robin Hood – stealing from the poor to give to the rich. Why do we put up with this?
    Maybe because we are taught by the media that protest is ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’ or ‘anti-religion’ or whatever…And when that doesn’t work we arrest and imprison those with inconvenient views…just look at how rioters last summer in the UK were given harsh sentences and bankers (Bob Diamond at Barclays in the UK for example) who break rules and possibly laws seem to get away with it…hmmm…now I am ranting!
    That’s my two pence worth over…

  3. ciaraballintyne says:

    While I agree with you as a matter of principle, as a matter of law ‘freedom of speech’ does not exist in every country. I believe it is enshrined in the American Constitution or Bill of Rights (don’t quote me, not an expert), but contrary to what most Australians believe, we don’t have it in Australia. What we have here is the more limited ‘right of political communication’ which basically means you can say whatever you like about a politician as long it relates to his/her fitness for office. I have no idea what they have in Russia, but an assumption about freedom of speech may be erroneous. It’s not, generally, regarded as part of ‘natural law’ either i.e. a fundamental human right.

    Which I also don’t necessarily agree with.

    However, I think it’s fair to say a two year sentence for singing a song definitely breaches the notion that the punishment should fit the crime! An makes you sadly wonder about the sentences handed down to some murderers/rapists etc.

    • emmawolf says:

      I don’t know what the law in Russia is either, but clearly it’s not the same as it is in the US, where I’m from. (You’re right, by the way. It’s in the Bill of Rights, which is part of the Constitution.) Thanks for enlightening me about the laws regarding freedom of speech in Australia. But I absolutely agree, even looking past my country’s constitutional protection and trying to see things from another perspective, two years is outrageous.

  4. amyeyrie says:

    Right on, Derek!

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