What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Free Pussy Riot


 Today's blog post is about "Freedom of Speech". Amnesty international has declared today August 17th "Pussy Riot Global Day". For those who are unaware "Pussy Riot" is the most recent face of freedom of speech against corruption and free speech suppression. Basically, "Pussy Riot" is a feminist Russian Punk Rock band. They are loud, provocative, in your face and often stage controversial impromptu performances. In a country where free speech does not come easily, they break the rules frequently, dangerously and often will push the envelope. They have been strong critics of Vladimir Putin and believe his reelection was rigged.

It all began on February 21st 2012 when four members of the group did an impulsive and quite foolish act of protest. They went to a Russian Orthodox church in Moscow and performed the song "Virgin Mary, put Putin away". While not explicit their song had lyrics inappropriate for church and called on Virgin Mary to become a feminist and do something about Putin. Now I will admit that they pushed the limits to far. The protest was offensive and the mock prayer hurt the sentiments of the Orthodox Russians. Of course they deserved some sort of punishment or censure. Perhaps a nominal fine and community service.



Unfortunately, ever since their arrest in March their treatment of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina at the hands of Russian authorities has been appalling. They have been in prison since then awaiting trial and have been mistreated and ridiculed. They were accused of hooliganism and spreading religious hatred and potentially faced seven years in prison. There was international protest and calls for clemency. After a grueling trial the courts chose to ignore global concerns and declared Pussy Riot guilty and sentenced them to two years in prison.

I don't care much for their music, nor do I think performing in the church was a wise thing to do. But I am a huge believer in freedom of speech. In this case a government is overreacting to public dissent. Instead of allowing the citizens to freely air their grievances and criticize the government, they have chosen to suppress and subdue the voices of the people. The ruling also sets a bad precedent that a religious place gets special preferential treatment. Staging a vulgar anti Obama performance at the mall will get you time - but as a misdemeanor and a chance for bail - not endless custody and two years prison. It is a matter of freedom of speech. 

 

Here is how you can show your support

http://www.amnestyusa.org/ - You can make a donation to free them

http://www.amnesty.org/ - The Amnesty International Page

http://freepussyriot.org/ - Learn more about the band, see videos and take part in local protests

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/17/russia-band-members-conviction-blow-free-expression - Read more why this is a major setback to free speech

PS: On a side note I do wonder if the likes of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev fighting against corruption in India will care to speak up for the rights of feminist punk rock girls - after all they are on the same side of the battle against a corrupt political system and power silencing people's voices. Perhaps India could do with their own pussy riot.

 

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