I hate political angle in music. But I tend to enjoy punk rock music, probably in its lightest version. And it’s true that most punk rock songs take a political stand, which is what makes them so successful. Besides, when there’s a cause behind a band that represents a whole idea, then it gives us even more reasons to listen to it.
Two days ago, I watched this documentary film about Pussy Riot, the feminist punk rock group that staged a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior back in 2012. Three of the members were then arrested and charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
The film narrates the whole story, from the formation of the band until the verdict of their trial, shedding light on the philosophy of Pussy Riot in a very simple and honest way. The band’s (approximately) 11 members protest against Putin, against the church and state union and against women being deprived of their rights, in a conservative society which still sees them as inferior.
Many Russians were offended by Pussy Riot’s performance inside the Cathedral. But the girls wanted to fight for what they believe in. And I find it really odd that in times like these, we still have to fight for the freedom of speech, let alone be imprisoned for it.
Of course everything is about politics and leaders and authority games. But still, these women stood their ground and kept smiling, even during their trial; with lawyers who kept manipulating them, without actually representing them, and judges who blatantly applied the letter of the law.
What made me admire them was the fact that inner freedom seemed so true and obvious to them that they wouldn’t think for one second to abandon their beliefs; jail or no jail.
However, Katia, one of the three girls, gave an apologetic speech during her appeal hearing and was eventually set free. As the directors of the film stated during the screening at the Frontline Club, she had already talked to the other two about her decision and they were very supportive. She now continues to perform with the remaining members of the band.
Apart from the haters, Pussy Riot managed to gain massive positive response through protests from people around the world, as well as artists, such as Madonna, Green Day or Franz Ferdinand. And I guess this was their goal: a wake-up call towards an open minded society. Their mission is yet to be accomplished…
* Nadia and Masha are still serving their two-year sentence and Nadia recently declared a hunger strike over harsh jail conditions.