Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Freeing Pussy Riot



The text in the image above does not read "Free Pussy Riot." It reads "REVOLT."

For the Closing Statement of the famed Pussy Riot trial, defendant and band-member Yekaterina Samutsevich, expecting a "guilty verdict", eloquently stated that by losing to Russia's judiciary system, they have in fact won. As by losing to Russia's judiciary system, Pussy Riot simultaneously exposes the  repressive nature of the trial and Russia's ruling regime at large.

Therefore, we really shouldn't be demanding Pussy Riot's freedom. I'd like to see them liberated as much as the next guy (or girl), but the consequences of freeing Pussy Riot may be mistaken for a fair and liberal Russian judiciary system, which is clearly not the case. It is, however, an image Putin may be keen on portraying to the world.

Pussy Riot's actions are all about exposing the reality of Russia's corrupt regime. By demanding the freedom of Pussy Riot, the band's supporters are harming the very integrity of their mission. What we really want, what we really need... is for Pussy Riot to NOT be free.

Pussy Riot's situation is quite paradoxical. If they are freed, Putin wins. If they aren't freed, that still doesn't mean that Putin loses. Even if, after much public pressure, Pussy Riot is not freed and ends up with a guilty verdict anyway, support for the radical band will surely multiply the world over, but I fear it will be of little use. That it will only create yet another Free Mumia phenomenon. And how far has Mumia's support gotten him?

The Pussy Riot trial has a lot less to do with Pussy Riot themselves than it does with the Russian regime. What Pussy Riot supporters across the globe need to do is instead of focusing on the band... is to focus on the band's message... and call for the end of Putin's rule once for all.

Imagine if Madonna had went on stage in Moscow, and instead of "Free Pussy Riot" all over her back, it had read "Down with Putin." Imagine if the Icelandic Mayor of Reykjavik, instead of riding through a parade on a van decorated with the words "Free Pussy Riot," it was instead covered with Putin's face crossed out.

Asking for Pussy Riot's freedom is easy, but taking Putin out is where its at.

Pussy Riot should be to Russia what Bouazizi is to Tunisia, or what Khaled Said is to Egypt; the spark of a revolution.



I wish there was more I could do from Cairo. The best I could do is utilize my skills to weave a visual graphic expressing my sentiments. Inspired by the band's action at the Orthodox Church of Christ The Savior, I've created an image that combines Orthodox iconography with Protest symbology. The text featured in the image is Russian for "revolt."

But what good is a masterfully weaved image in the virtual world of the internet anyway? Something I learned from my experience with The Mask of Freedom is the grave importance for this sort of thing to transcend from the digital to the physical world. Which is why I've made a print-friendly, hi-resolution version of the image is available for anyone to do what he/she pleases with it. Ready-made support buttons, shirts, and posters featuring the image are also made available here.

May Russia be free.

3 comments:

shug said...

its a bit unfair to say Mumia's campaign has failed ....
just recently ,Mumia was freed from the death sentence hanging over his head since 80s ..
that is a victory . no matter how you see it ..
to Mumia its just another hurdle to be overcome on the road to freedom ,
to us outside it was a massive victory,
yes the war has still to be won
but dont dismiss 30 odd years of struggle as defeat ..
because were not done

Ganzeer said...

You're right. You're absolutely right. It is unfair. You post is very well put and I thank you for it, Shug.

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