The power of music is uncompromising. Fuck guns! You really want to make a statement? Pick up a guitar and write some lyrics. Just 30 seconds of an unauthorized performance has started a worldwide following, sent 3 girls to jail, influenced Madonna to perform with their name written on her bare back and inspired an award-winning documentary.
I just watched the documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer which aired on HBO. As I grow older, I am becoming increasingly connected to feminism and anti-authoritarian themes; perhaps because my blinders are being diminished as I see more truths unfold before me.
Here’s some backstory on the collective: Pussy Riot is an all-girl punk band that writes songs about feminism, LGBT rights, opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin (whom they regard as a dictator) and links between the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin. They oppose the marriage of church and state. Their costumes consist of brightly colored dresses and tights, with their faces masked by balaclavas.
On February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged an unsanctioned concert on the soleas of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Their demonstration was quickly halted by church security officials. This protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leader’s support for Putin during his election campaign.
Three of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested and charged with hooliganism. Denied bail, they were held in custody until their trial began in late July. On August 17, 2012, the three members were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, and each was sentenced to two years jail-time. On October 10, following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation, her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were upheld. In late October 2012, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were separated and sent to prison. They both have small children.
It’s a powerful story, and although physically detained, their message has been heard and is screaming into the ears of the whole world. I admire their courage, risks, and willingness to take a stand- such dedication without boundaries is the way to change; not just politically, but in any area of life.
“All you can deprive me of is “so-called” freedom. This is the only kind that exists in Russia. But nobody can take away my inner freedom. It lives in the word, it will go on living thanks to openness, when this will be read and heard by thousands of people. This freedom goes on living with every person who is not indifferent, who hears us in this country. With everyone who found shards of the trial in themselves, like in previous times they found them in Franz Kafka and Guy Debord. I believe that I have honesty and openness, I thirst for the truth; and these things will make all of us just a little bit more free. We will see this yet.” – Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina
If you want to hear the incredibly eloquent closing statements of the women, you may read them in full HERE - I highly recommend it!