This Week in the Mercury


Friday, August 17, 2012

Pussy Riot Forever!

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 11:44 AM

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As mentioned in Good Morning News, the Russian punk band Pussy Riot has been found guilty of "hooliganism driven by religious hatred" for performing an anti-Putin song in a cathedral and sentenced to two years in prison. Today has been declared worldwide Pussy Riot day and there's a solidarity protest today in Pioneer Square at 3pm.

Right after handing down the guilty sentence, the judge droned on for two and a half hours about everything the women had done wrong. It's total bullshit.

First piece of bullshit: The judge says the band is spreading "homosexual propaganda." I guess singing about gender counts as hooliganism?

Second piece of bullshit: The judge read aloud a detailed description from the churchgoers who were offended by Pussy Riot's performance in the cathedral, noting that the band had uttered words that were offensive to Orthodox believers—some witnesses at the trial weren't even in the cathedral at the time, they just watched a clip of the performance on YouTube and felt offended.

Third piece of bullshit: The judge also called out how the women's short, colorful skirts were "not appropriate" for church.

Fourth piece of bullshit: The judge said Pussy Riot's punk performance "imitated demonic attacks."

Fifth piece of bullshit: This entire trial! Of course, the whole thing is a sham—a way to crack down on young, motivated, political people who are mad at Russia's ruling regime. As human rights groups around the world have pointed out, this was a politically-motivated trial through and through, so it would be expecting too much to hope that the verdict would have some bearing on reality, rather than imprisoning people essentially for wearing short skirts and and saying offensive words.

It's amazing to recognize that a three-person punk band can still have this kind of power. Russia has been the site of gross human rights abuses for years and polls show the country is hostile to feminism (only seven percent of women in the country identify as "feminists"), but that usually comes through in less flashy, more insidious ways, like extremely high domestic violence rates. I'm in awe that three ladies with balaclavas and guitars were able to bring Russia's issues into a harsh spotlight.

Now let's get these ladies out of prison and back to their kids and music.

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