Many of us complain about our country, from issues like taxes, to politicians, to everyday injustices. But there is one very important thing we have in this country that so many of us take for granted our freedom of speech.
Today I was reminded of our first amendment rights and how fortunate we are to be able to say whatever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want (within reason of course; saying “I have a bomb” or “I’m going to shoot the President” will probably get you in trouble). Why? Because on Friday the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot was sentenced to two years in prison for protesting their country’s leader in a church in Moscow.
“The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules,” Judge Marina Syrova said to the court. The judge also noted that the women were “guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, saying they had deliberately offended Russian Orthodox believers by storming the altar of Moscow’s main cathedral in February to belt out a song deriding Putin.”
Reuters reports that supporters of the band believe that this was an act of “personal revenge” by Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin with this sentence as a strong statement of his disapproval of any kind of dissent.
“The U.S. embassy in Moscow said the sentence appeared disproportionate to what the defendants did,” Reuters says. But according to polls, the Russian people don’t have much in the way of sympathy for the trio. Meanwhile, outsiders such as Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting are taking this on as a cause célèbre.
When you hear of things like this, are you reminded of the rights we do possess in our country and feel a sense of relief?
You can support the women the women of Pussy Riot via Amnesty International.
Photo Credit: Amnesty International