Freedom of speech, everywhere. Now! Free PUSSY RIOT !
 

Dear humans,
we’ve followed up on this issue since weeks, eventually feeling the need to express our thoughts on it. Not only do we sympathize with anybody who uses their voice to state their grievances, but we also feel that it’s our obligation to report about something being so significant to humanity, music, and life.
I feel a personal connection to this subject matter, for I enjoy calling myself a “punk girl” as well in attempt to point out my affection for punk rock music, lifestyle, and ideological viewpoints like the concern for individual freedom and anti-establishment views. Therefore I regard it as vital to raise awareness for the current state of things in order to change certain nuisances and to support those who even fear going to jail for doing so.
The Russian punk band PUSSY RIOT has been imprisoned since March, waiting for their verdict concerning their gig at Moscow’s Christ The Saviour Cathedral. The masked riot-girl art group sang a song called Holy Shit as a protest against the Orthodox Christian church’s support for Russian president Vladimir Putin. Their performance has storied as anti-Putin “punk prayer” and has touched off a media firestorm worldwide. In the aftermath of this act of venting their anger, the three women named Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (22), Maria Alyokhina (24), and Yekaterina Samutsevich (29) had primarily to face up to seven years in jail on hooliganism charges. Since then, Russian judiciary has been criticized for insisting that the three women face criminal charges for their actions.
Every person should have the right to state what’s on their mind, in our modern times even more effectively by using the web to promote these opinions and thoughts worldwide. I’m aware of the fact that this is a tricky thing, since not all opinions are legal and therefore should not be spread carelessly. In the case of the rioting girls, the message was nonviolent and didn’t harm anybody, which makes up for any “inconvenience” and legalizes the act at any rate. And in end, what we have in common with PUSSY RIOT is that we use our ability to speak via music to assert ourselves. And in terms of feeling empathetic with the Russian punk collective, it’s not only a matter of gender, religion, political opinion, and musical taste, but mainly a matter of human rights, respectively the freedom of speech, that should make our position clear in this case that is dividing Russians over questions of free speech and tolerance.
Even though that many people worldwide might misinterpret the band’s aggressive performance, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova points out that PUSSY RIOT never means to show any disrespect to any viewers or witnesses of our punk concerts”. In an essay published on Free Pussy Riot, she further wrote:

“The themes of our songs and performances are dictated by the present moment. We simply react to what is happening in our country, and our punk performances express the opinion of a sufficiently large number of people. In our song Hail Mary, Expel Putin we reflected the reaction of many Russian citizens to the patriarch’s calls for vote for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin during the presidential election of 4 March 2012.”
She added: “We are not enemies of Christianity. We care about the opinion of Orthodox Christians. We want all of them to be on our side – on the side of anti-authoritarian civil society activists. That is why we came to the Cathedral.”
Moreover she said that their protest was not meant to insult Christians, but was a specific response to Putin’s re-election. “Our performance contained no aggression towards the audience, but only a desperate desire to change the political situation in Russia for the better”.
We are overwhelmed by such determined and strong words that come out of a single person’s mouth, however speaking out of many people’s hearts and souls in the cause of justice and humanness. Musicians worldwide have showed solidarity by playing benefit concerts and declaring the band’s name on their bodies or screens. In the beginning of the trial, the women were supposed to face seven years of labor camp, which caused acts like ANTI-FLAG, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, MADONNA and RADIO HAVANNA, even ex-BEATLE Paul McCartney to take action by signing a letter calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the three detained members of the band. By naming Tolokonnikova, Alykhina, and Samutsevich political ‘prisoners of conscience’, Amnesty International has only further stoked the debate over the three women’s destiny and also Church’s role in society. One of the lawyers representing PUSSY RIOT said that their criminal trial is one of “the most shameful” in modern Russian history. He criticized the way the punk group has been treated by the Russian justice system and insisted that the courts were more honest “even in Stalin’s times”.

Human rights activists, jurists, and independent lawyers refer to the PUSSY RIOT case as an all-time scandal, standing for political and religious arbitrariness like in medieval times. One might be even tempted to support one PUSSY RIOT member’s statement, calling Putin’s reaction to their church protest “childish”, if it were not all so serious. The women, two of them even having little children, have been arrested for too long now, suffering from unacceptable conditions and carrying out an unfair battle.
The international outcry to free them has been immense, and it will not stop until justice has been served. What you can do is show solidarity in any kind of way, e.g. by joining the PUSSY RIOT GLOBAL DAY on August 17 (get all the necessary information at http://freepussyriot.org/) or taking action and signing the Amnesty International petition. After you’ve done so, listen to electroclasher PEACHES’ new track called Free Pussy Riot and watch the video which features footage from a Berlin rally in support of the band, as well as appearances from sympathetic artists like THE KNIFE, LYKKE LI, PETER BJORN AND JOHN, NICK ZINNER, THE HIVES, MIIKE SNOW , KATE NASH, LIGHT ASYLUM, WAYNE KRAMER, MARSHALL CRENSHAW, JD SAMSON, and others. At last weekend’s FLOW FESTIVAL in Helsinki, we witnessed our beloved acts FEIST and BJÖRK speaking up for the PUSSY RIOT girls and every human being’s freedom of speech.

 

To conclude with the words of a PETA campaign, we encourage you to never be silent and to always be loud about the world’s injustices. Believe in your human rights and fight for them!