I wrote about the appalling treatment that feminist art-punk collective Pussy Riot were receiving at the hands of what passes for a judicial system in Russia a few weeks back, and on Friday the inevitable happened – arrested band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were handed two-year sentences for the in-no-way imaginary offence of hooliganism committed by a group of persons motivated by religious hatred.
Or, as appears to be the case, the rather more accurate crime of criticising Vladimir Putin‘s Russia and the Draconian B.S. carried out on his say-so to silence dissent in whatever form it takes.
I try to wear my atheism lightly – nobody wants a strident anti-theist blogging in their face with their best sub-Dawkins one liners annoying the crap out of all and sundry – but cases and religiously motivated legal decisions make it very difficult for me not to have absolute and complete contempt for believers who allow their personal convictions to intrude on their professional lives and directly impact those who don’t share their faith.
By all means, take the Pussy Riot collective to court and charge them with presenting a political protest – but don’t bring imaginary deities into it. That’s just cretinous.
If your God’s so offended by protests against he/she/it, have the omnipotent icon show up in court themselves to explain just why they require such absurd overreaction to be carried out in their name. What’s that? You can’t get your God to actually show up? Oh, how very convenient.
This verdict is about silencing unpopular thought, women and ideas – and non-existent, invisible, oddly diffident deities don’t really come into matters, but can be invoked by the terminally cynical to silence criticism of their fascistic approach to social control. Let’s just get things straight, shall we?
You can follow the fight to free the band members via Amnesty USA’s site – and hope that Putin soon realises that this idiotic debacle is doing more to dent Russia’s reputation than a decade of locking up oligarchs and riding rough-shod over democracy has done to date.
- Pussy Riot – “Putin Light Up The Flames” (stereogum.com)
- Pussy Riot found guilty, sentenced to two years in prison (brooklynvegan.com)
- Pussy Riot Found Guilty and Sentenced to Two Years in Prison; Worldwide Protests Scheduled [Video] (jezebel.com)
- Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in prison colony for hooliganism (guardian.co.uk)
- Pussy Riot found guilty (salon.com)