Friday, August 17, 2012

A Little Deviation: The Pussy Riot Trial

I'm going to do something that I haven't done before on this blog, and that is talk about something pretty prominent in the news right now. You've probably heard about it already. I've managed to catch the story on two different news shows this morning alone, and there are numerous articles about it online. You turn on CNN or BBC World News, and you see the courtroom with the guards and the lawyers standing in front of three young women in a booth protected by glass (I would hope bulletproof, considering some of the people out there).  I'm talking about the Pussy Riot trial in Russia.

If you haven't heard about them, Pussy Riot is a Russian punk rock band who took over the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for all of about 40 seconds to perform their song "Our Lady, Chase Putin Out" to pray for Russia's protection from President Putin. 




The translated lyrics (from the youtube page) are as follows:

(Chorus)

St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!
(end chorus)

Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners are crawling and bowing
The ghost of freedom is in heaven
Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB is their chief saint
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend the Holy
Women have to give birth and to love

Holy shit, shit, Lord's shit!
Holy shit, shit, Lord's shit!

(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, become a feminist
Become a feminist, Become a feminist
(end chorus)

Church praises the rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
In school you are going to meet with a teacher-preacher
Go to class - bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, you better believed in God
Belt of the Virgin is no substitute for mass-meetings
In protest of our Ever-Virgin Mary!

(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!
(end chorus)

Now, the lyrics aren't exactly appropriate for a church, but you should keep in mind that the women only had enough time to sing the chorus and the first verse. Because of this, they have been found guilty of "hooliganism" and are facing a sentence with a maximum of seven years in prison.

I find this to be completely ridiculous. First of all, if acting like a hooligan was cause enough to be arrested, then I'm pretty sure most of the colleges in the United States would be empty two weeks into the semester. Second, seven years in prison is a harsh consequence for singing 40 seconds of a song in a place deemed inappropriate. In this case, the punishment does not fit the crime. Third, the judge declared it an act driven by religious hatred. I question whether the judge was actually paying attention to the lyrics. This was an act driven by conflicting political views with the person in power. The person in power appears to be the driving force behind the harshness of the charges, so I really don't think the band's concern was misplaced. Honestly, this isn't looking great for Putin. 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that this is an injustice. There are numerous protesters calling out for these women to be released from the captivity in which they've been living for the past five months. Multiple celebrities, such as Madonna and Paul McCartney, join those voices urging officials to let the women go free, and more are sure to follow.

What do you think of the charges and the verdict? Do you have any further information to add? I'd love to hear from you!

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, especially with the lyrics translation, it's really interesting and I agree with you, this punishment seems absolutely ridiculous.

    It's sad that they feel like they had to make sure a demonstration to be heard but 7 years in prison is ridiculous. Surely the judge must realise that this will only give the case much more media attention and make it into something way bigger than it is?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for commenting! I agree that this is going to make the judge (and the government) look pretty bad. I also think the judge (and government) SHOULD look bad because this is wrong. The demonstrators shouldn't be facing criminal charges like this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just can't get over the fact that they're charged with hooliganism. What is this, the fifties? :/

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is ridiculous. It makes me very sad to see that things like that can happen to you when you raise your voice against the government in Russia, China etc.

    ReplyDelete
  5. And by the way, they got 2 years in prison for it. :(

    ReplyDelete
  6. Saffiremoon21- Apparently it is the fifties in Russia. It's sad.

    Katrin- Thank you for updating on that! I hadn't heard that yet (I went from watching the news to making tea and reading). Two years? This is preposterous. I hope this will change soon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think that 2 years is really hard, and they don't go just to a jail, don't know how it's called in english, but I think it just exists in Russia still... so where they have to work, pretty hard!
    I don't think that this is right...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think it's called a labor camp? I agree with you, Sandra. It's wrong.

    ReplyDelete