Archive for July, 2012

‘Punk prayer’ & Putin’s repression of free speech

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

The continued imprisonment of the feminist Russian girl punk band Pussy Riot is an outrageous repression of free speech by Moscow’s Putin regime. The punk trio – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (23), Yekaterina Samutsevich (19) and Maria Alyokhina (24) – have been detained since March 2012 following a noisy but peaceful protest in an Orthodox church last February 2012 at which three masked people  sang a ‘punk prayer’ calling for the overthrow of Putin and mocking the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Last Friday their detention was extended for a further six months. If convicted, they could face up  to seven years’ imprisonment. The London Times rightly last Saturday, 21 July, 2012, ran an editorial on this unconscionable attack on free speech, seeing it as a test case for freedom of speech under Putin’s regime. No less chilling than their imprisonment for musical political protest is the report that a Russian Orthodox Patriarch has accused the singers of ‘blasphemy’, that hairy old chestnut of those who believe in ridiculous things wanting their daft beliefs protected rather than being exposed for what they are: abject nonsense.

Amnesty International have called for the immediate and unconditional release of the trio. Amnesty have pointed out that the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly ruled that freedom of expression applies not only to inoffensive ideas, “but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”,  even if the action was calculated to shock and was known to be likely to cause offence. Amnesty adds that ‘the activists left the cathedral when requested to do so and caused no damage. The entire incident lasted only a few minutes and caused only minimal disruption to those using the cathedral.’

Putin: release these women now. Tear down the new walls you are erecting of  fear, imprisonment and silencing freedom of expression. History shows where that leads. Be brave and release those who criticize you. As for the Patriarch: your life is based on a lie: Jesus did not rise from the dead. Grow up and leave aside your silly religious beliefs.

Do it today!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Today is all we’ve got. The past is gone and we may not have a future. All we ever have is now. This moment. Let’s live in this moment. I’m thankful for this fleeting second. That I exist. That I live. That I breathe. That I express. I’m thankful for music and birdsong, for language and technology, for my wife and son and daughter. I’m grateful for this moment, for this transitory opportunity to ground myself and come into the present. Today is full of possibility. Today, we can create. We can express. We choose. We decide. We create ourselves anew. We are masters of our fate. We choose our thoughts and, so choosing, make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven. Let us also be thankful for ourselves, and not be shy about it. Let us be ourselves today. Be different. Imagine if you had died already (death will come far quicker than any of us realize) and you were given an opportunity to come back and live just one more day. What would you do? Do it today!