Friday 17 August 2012

I’m a big fan of freedom of speech. And a big fan of the word ‘pussy’. So, it’s a bit shambolic that I still didn’t really know what all this Pussy Riot stuff had been about in the news recently. One just imagines a pussy riot is something people like George Clooney has to put up with when he goes for a run alongside the lake in Como. Though, perhaps, a terrifying experience for one who is at the centre of a pussy riot, not in the same league as the riots of 12 months ago – when people stole designers clothes to protest the cessation of youth centres.

But Pussy Riot is not a sexual lusting after some heartthrob. But everyone knows this, except me – but even I do now. Two years in prison seems like a very harsh punishment for some people performing a song in a church(cathedral). I don’t think it was necessarily respectful of the Church, but that was kind of the point. Had they ambushed a meeting of the local anarchists collective everyone would have been like “you can’t really ambush this meeting because you’re members of this group and this meeting is in your parents’ shed.”

So the reaction to them protesting about the regime’s lack of democratic choice and freedom of speech – and how this is reinforced by the church is that the state has put them in prison for briefly doing something in a church that wasn’t a prayer, or hooliganism as the courts in Russia have dubbed it. I would associate hooliganism with violent/aggressive acts. I would not associate some people wearing hoods, dressed in bright clothing singing and dancing in a church as a violent act.

I don’t know what culture is like in Russia. I only have the stereotype of Russia: people smashing plates, kebabs, Greek salads etc. What counts as a hooligan in Russia might be a very different thing to our s0-called British hooligans fighting and cutting people with a Stanley knife to defend their manor. And if in Russia a hooligan is someone peacefully questioning a regime then these women are hooligans and should be imprisoned for two years. Or more – if they can’t learn that being intelligent and asking questions about a corrupt system is inherently wrong then perhaps they should be imprisoned for 500 years. Each.

Wait a minute, though…..if no-one questions a corrupt system then how is it going to be removed? What the?? Why you lousy Russian bastards.

Unfortunately for the member of Pussy Riot, the worldwide condemnation of the imprisonment included Sir Paul McCartney and Madonna – instantly reducing international empathy for the imprisoned singers. If Bono gets involved then they can kiss a reprieve goodbye.

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