Pussy Riot in America

I hadn’t caught up on Jon Stewart for a while because his show crashes a lot on my meager bandwidth (curse you, Comedy Central) and I hate the ads (curse you, Madison Ave, Silicon Valley, and well, pretty much every capitalist). So I missed this bit on Stephen Colbert, for which I would have heard the promo on The Daily Show during one of my late-night binge-watching sessions. Thankfully, a friend shared it on Facebook.

Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina were interviewed by Mr. Colbert, who was clearly charmed by their wit and commitment: even with a translator’s delay, they cracked him up. Don’t miss both clips via Salon.com.

Anyone reading my blog will know that I’ve admired these women from afar for their spunk and political activism, from their performance in a church to protest the government’s non-secular allegiances (which landed them in jail) to their attempts to highlight alarming prison conditions in Russia during their punishment and since. Thanks to Mr. Colbert, I know them a tad better now, which only strengthens my opinion of them. Ms. Tolokonnikova and Ms. Alyokhina are here touring American prisons, to counterbalance the really nice facilities they saw in the Netherlands, which were just too far removed from the prison squalor they are trying to change in their Mother Land. Perhaps you’ve seen images by journalists complaining about tourist conditions in Sochi? I’m guessing Pussy Riot would have something to say about their sniveling, but these composed young women would say it kindly and with dignity. The worst they could sling at Putin during the interview was that he is a shirtless guy on a horse (which is perhaps a Russian idiom for something more insulting, but it seemed rather bland considering the circumstances).

Instead of tweeting photos of communal toilets and partially completed installations, journalists should be investigating why the government and the Olympic Committee hasn’t done more to protect UNESCO world heritage sites and villages in the Sochi area from the fallout of the massive and rapid construction for Olympic events (see story in The Nation). Personally, I’m boycotting these Olympics for this reason (as well as Russia’s anti-gay and blasphemy laws that stifle dissenting opinions). In my opinion, the environmental devastation that results from this kind of ill-planned development is not worth the money or glory the Games bring to a country, and I do not want to support it in any way.

I know no one in Russia or on the Olympic Committee will notice my small attempt at political activism. Yet that is not a reason to avoid taking action.

Pussy Riot inspires me to explore my conscience and act accordingly, even (and perhaps especially) when the spotlight is not on.

Rock on!

Pussy Riot (photo via Salon.com)

Pussy Riot (photo via Salon.com)

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2 thoughts on “Pussy Riot in America

  1. I totally agree. I think sometimes the only thing we can do is to not buy what they are selling – be it cola with dangerous chemicals, t-shirts made by children, or the Olympics. I’m with you. We two can at least say we did our part no matter how small.

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