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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fighting for freedom

Some courageous and stirring words from the three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot currently being tried in Russia for their brief (and uninvited) performance in a Moscow Cathedral and who delivered closing arguments on Wednesday in a case seen as a key test of the Russian president's desire to crackdown on dissent. Let me reproduce the story almost in full - 
"This is a trial of the whole government system of Russia, which so likes to show its harshness toward the individual, its indifference to his honour and dignity," Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, one of the trio on trial said in an impassioned statement. "If this political system throws itself against three girls … it shows this political system is afraid of truth."
The judge set 17 August as the day she would deliver a verdict against the women, charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred following an anti-Putin performance in a Moscow cathedral.
Prosecutors have asked for a three-year sentence, arguing that the women sought to insult all of Russian Orthodoxy and denying they were carrying out a political protest.
"Even though we are behind bars, we are freer than those people," Tolokonnikova said, looking at the prosecution from inside the glass cage where she and her two bandmates, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, have spent the nine-day trial. "We can say what we want, while they can only say what political censorship allows."I am not scared of you," Alyokhina (24) told the court. "I'm not scared of lies and fiction, or the badly formed deception that is the verdict of this so-called court. Because my words will live, thanks to openness. When thousands of people will read and watch this, this freedom will grow with every caring person who listens to us in this country." 
Each woman ended her closing statement to loud applause from the Russian journalists sitting in the courtroom.
There are some aspects of this case I don't like - their performance was childishly offensive in its location and content; and the western media (and Madonna) fail to explore the question of how such pranks would have been treated in the west. But the fact remains that the cosying up of the Russian Orthodox church to Putin is sickening; noone else seemed to have the guts to challenge it; and the girls' words are inspiring. 

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