Will Hollywood Riot for Pussy Riot?

by BEN SHAPIRO August 21, 2012

Friday in the newly constituted Soviet Union - or rather, Vladimir Putin's Russia - three members of the aptly-named punk band Pussy Riot found themselves on the wrong end of a two year jail sentence for protesting against President Putin in a church. When protesters showed up to demonstrate their displeasure, Putin promptly arrested dozens of them, too.

What prompted Putin to target the band? It all began when Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, took over Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral and took over the stage to blast Putin's relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church. The judge ruled that the band had "committed an act of hooliganism, a gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society."

And, for the first time in recent memory, the celebrity community did something right: they stood up to a dictator. Led by Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting, they called for the release of the band - a band which, by the way, was doing this as a publicity stunt, since they'd never even recorded a full record. Madonna led the way, doing a concert in Moscow with the name of the group emblazoned on her back. McCartney signed a letter stating, "I would like you to know that I very much hope the Russian authorities would support the principle of free speech for all their citizens and not feel that they have to punish you for your protest." Sting said he found the sentence "appalling" on his website.

The question isn't why these artists would stand up for Pussy Riot. It's the right thing to do. No matter what your religious belief system, no matter how you feel about blasphemy in a church, there's no excuse for jailing political dissidents for exercising the right to free speech.

The question is whether these artists would stand up if Pussy Riot had been a Palestinian women's band taking over a mosque, and then sentenced to prison time.

FINISH

 

Benjamin Shapiro is the editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire. He was born in 1984. He entered UCLA at the age of 16 and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in June 2004 with a BA in Political Science. He graduated Harvard Law School cum laude in June 2007. Shapiro was hired by Creators Syndicate at age 17 to become the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the U.S.  His columns are printed in major newspapers and websites including Townhall, ABCNews, WorldNet Daily, Human Events, FrontPage Mag, Family Security Matters, the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Conservative Chronicle. The author of the national bestsellers, Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth (WND Books, May 2004), Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future (Regnery, June 2005), and Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House (Thomas Nelson, 2008),


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