Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why Putin Needs To Arrest Madonna

Following their sentence to two years in prison, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina - the members of the Russian punk collective Pussy Riot - have become an international cause célèbre. And one performer eager to take up the mantle for Pussy Riot is Madonna, who appeared on stage at her concert last week in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the words Free Pussy Riot written on her back.

But Madonna did something else during that show. To further show her displeasure at the Pussy Riot verdict (not to mention Russia's tepid support for Gay Rights), Madonna also stomped on a Russian Orthodox cross.

Let's reflect on that for a moment: Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich and Alyokhina each received two-year year sentences for their performance within Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral on the grounds of “promoting religious hatred”. Yet aside from some loud music, bad dancing and profanity, Pussy Riot did nothing aside from make a purely political statement; they caused no damage to the cathedral, nor did they utter anything against the Orthodox religion, they recited their punk prayer to the Virgin Mary asking: “Holy Mother, Blessed Mother, drive Putin out!” It certainly was not disrespectful to anyone aside from Vladimir Putin.
On the other hand, Madonna decided to step on the symbol of the Russian Orthodox faith, which seems more like an act of “religious hatred”? And before justifying Madonna's actions as an act of free speech/free expression, let us for a moment contemplate what the reaction would be if at a concert in Tel Aviv, Madonna decided to stomp on the Star of David to protest some action by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Putin could actually use Madonna's protest to his advantage. Everyone regards the Pussy Riot trial as an attempt to stifle dissent in Russia by charging these women with crimes far outside of the scope of what they actually did; it is seen as a politically-motivated prosecution pure and simple. Putin could deflect, or attempt to deflect, these charges by calling for the arrest of Madonna on the same grounds of promoting religious hatred thanks to her act of outright religious vandalism.

It would be a fascinating way for Putin to turn the tables on his critics.
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1 comment:

luxury apartments buenos aires said...

This is a very interesting perspective, I wonder what the outcome would be.