Monday, July 30, 2012

Free Pussy Riot!

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

- Evelyn Beatrice Hall (misattributed to Voltaire)

Let me say at the outset that I am quite certain that the all-girl punk band from Russia called "Pussy Riot" probably doesn't see eye-to-eye with me on just about any issue, politically. Neither am I a particular fan of punk rock.

That said, what has happened to them is a complete travesty and must be fought tooth and nail by anyone with a conscience who claims to love liberty and freedom.

Back in February, the band staged an impromptu protest in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. They went into the altar area (not atop the altar itself, as has been reported in a few places) and performed a song that called for Vladimir Putin's removal from power. They even went so far as to implore the icon of the Virgin Mary to bring this about (good luck with that... ahem).

Shortly thereafter, three of the members of the band (they perform anonymously, wearing masks) were arrested and are now in a Russian courtroom facing up to seven years in prison for "hooliganism" and "inciting religious hatred". Amnesty International is, naturally, crying bloody murder and rightfully so.

This blatant attempt by the dictator Vladimir Putin (and at this point, there can be little doubt that he is, in fact, a dictator) to silence any opposition and trample on the rights of individuals to stage peaceful protests is simply staggering. The fact that the U.S. government hasn't made any sort of protests (that I'm able to find, anyway) is outrageous.

And, apparently, the whole incident is caught on tape (with a studio recording of the song, obviously). Tell me this deserves seven years in prison.


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