Word is that everyday Russians have forgotten about Pussy Riot, that they don’t care what happens to them. Russia is a big place and they may not be freaking out about the lack of freedom of expression the way some in the U.S. are… but I’ll say this, Freedom of Speech & Expression is the MOST important right any of us possess. I believe it is a God given right and that without it, all the other problems of humankind stand no shot of being solved.

How can problems be solved if both sides (or more likely the several sides) of an issue can’t be debated? If an argument is only one sided, then I can guarantee you there is a silent party that does not agree.

Pussy Riot HBO2

If anyone, anyone, tries to silence you through political oppression, cyberbullying, intimidation, blackmail, whatever the case may be.. then you need to ask yourself “Why?”. What is it that you have to say that is so dangerous that others feel it must be suppressed.

Enough of the “you have the right to your own opinion, until it differs with mine” mentality. Enough of the “if you believe like I believe your great, but if you don’t you are shit” mentality.

Enough, enough, enough.

I happened to be in Miami when all of the Elian Gonzalez stuff went down back in the ’90s. I was shocked and saddened by so many Miami Cuban ex-patriots, many of whom risked their lives to taste the freedom of the U.S., refusing to allow others’ to even hint at an opinion different than their own (that Elian should be reunited with his father in Cuba).

It was a lesson in the irony and hypocrisy of our democracy. Freedom of Speech is especially important for those with whom we disagree. It’s easy to argue for someone’s freedom of expression when we agree with what they are saying.

I don’t know what Pussy Riot’s point is, and I don’t really care. I just believe in their right to try and make it.

I hear that those in Russia believe the whole Pussy Riot thing is a publicity stunt. To do what, I ask? To sell records of horrible, horrible punk music? Going to jail or a labor camp is a publicity stunt to sell records? The music business is rougher than I imagined then.

The reality is that if Russians don’t care about Pussy Riot, then they don’t care about themselves.

But I don’t believe that most Russians don’t care. We all should care and we all should fight, fight, fight when freedom of speech is being suppressed, regardless of the technique of the suppressors, be it jail, arrest, lies or intimidation.

The HBO documentary on Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer debuts Monday, June 10th @ 9PM.

I’ll be watching and I hope I find that Russians, DO care about Pussy Riot and the threat to their own freedoms.

 

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