Rock on, Pussy Riot.

I have just read the closing statements of the three women from the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, whose trial has just been completed with an unsurprising guilty verdict.

These young women are phenomenal.

Some excerpts:

Yekaterina Samutsevich:

“I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. The whole world now sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial.”

Maria Alyokhina:

“I would like to point out that very similar methods were used during the trial of the poet [Joseph] Brodsky. His poems were defined as “so-called” poems; the witnesses for the prosecution hadn’t actually read them—just as a number of the witnesses in our case didn’t see the performance itself and only watched the clip online. Our apologies, it seems, are also being defined by the collective prosecuting body as “so-called” apologies. Even though this is offensive. And I am overwhelmed with moral injury and psychological trauma. Because our apologies were sincere. I am sorry that so many words have been uttered and you all still haven’t understood this. Or it is calculated deviousness when you talk about our apologies as insincere. I don’t know what you still need to hear from us. But for me this trial is a “so-called” trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of falsehood and fictitiousness, of sloppily disguised deception, in the verdict of the so-called court.
Because 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 [glasnost], 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.”

(Interjecting here just to say – I love that. “And I am not afraid of you.” I can practically hear that echoing around a courtroom, I can hear it echoing from the other side of the world.)

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova:

“We were searching for real sincerity and simplicity, and we found these qualities in the yurodstvo [the holy foolishness] of punk.
[…]
Yesterday, Madonna performed in Moscow with “Pussy Riot” written on her back. More and more people see that we are held here illegally, on false pretences. This amazes me. I am amazed that truth really does triumph over deception. Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us on the side of the prosecution. We can say anything we want and we say everything we want.”

 

I’ll never believe anyone who says that artists can’t change the world. Rock on, Pussy Riot.

Time now for the Russian Spring.

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