Pussy Riot

Richard Taylor took exception to my post on Pussy Riot and, because I think he is right and I was wrong, I am posting his comment on the front page (so to speak).

I agree that protest comes at a price. The goal of protest is to call attention to extremism and prompt criticism from outside. And, protesters take a chance that what comes form the outside will not be criticism, but instead support for the system. I appreciate the disclaimer of any affinity with Putin but am saddened to see this space being used to support a verdict that is based not on breaking and entering or for injuring anyone but for “offensively violating public peace in a sign of flagrant disrespect for citizens.” (http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9734) Oh, and because the song was also blasphemous from the point of view of the church. And this a verdict handed down with very little of what we would call due process.

So, being offensive or blasphemous in the eyes of the church can get you 2 years in jail? Not a system I want to defend. I think it is a system that should be questioned if not condemned. While I view them as mainstream, I’m sure the occupy protesters (http://tinyurl.com/93vscou ) offended a good portion of the public and I’m certain the Gay Pride Parade (http://tinyurl.com/8rwnh7n) is both profoundly offensive and blasphemous to many. Yes, the Pussy Riot actions were offensive to many devout members of the Russian Orthodox church (and bravo to the Church for asking for clemency for PR), but I’m not sure that offensiveness alone (there was no damage to property, nobody injured) should land someone in prison for two years.

I do want to add – and I hope it is not just because I want to be argumentative – that because of their arrest and prison sentence, Pussy Riot is now one of the most famous girl bands in the world (and, certainly the most famous that has never sold a recording or given a real concert). Russia, by arresting Pussy Riot, trying them while they are in a guarded glass box  – like they may infect the court or make a mass jailbreak – and then giving them a two year sentence in prison, had made itself look foolish.

It is amazing how Russia couldn’t help but act self-destructively in this case.  I think that all governments have that tendency, but the tendency to do stupid things is worse in direct relation to the level of autocraticness. (There must have been dozens of people in power in Russia who knew the jailing of Pussy Riot was not a good idea, that it would not make the state look powerful, it would just make the state look scared of three young girls.)

2 thoughts on “Pussy Riot

  1. There is something about absolute power to does corrupt absolutely. Your comment about government self-destruction has me view due process through a different lens than usual. Yes it is there to help give the individual a fighting chance against the king or queen, but it also might be there to help the sovereign from getting too big for his britches/her corset.

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