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Don't Let Pussy Riot Be the New Kony 2012

Keep the focus on activism, not punk rock: Joshua Foust
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 20, 2012 12:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – The world's anger at Russia over its treatment of Pussy Riot seems to be moving in the wrong direction. Yes, we should decry the country's clampdown on activism. What we shouldn't be so concerned about is the fact that the victims, in this case, happen to be an all-female punk band, writes Joshua Foust at the Atlantic. If that's what we focus on, we risk minimizing the plight of other Russian activists and political prisoners and putting our energies instead to the situation faced by female punk artists, "which is decidedly less dire."

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The situation might be compared to the controversy over the Kony 2012 sensation, which "took a serious problem ... and turned it into an exercise in commercialism, militarism, and Western meddling." Now, we're "taking a serious issue (Russia's degrading political freedoms and civil liberties) and turning it into a celebration of feminist punk music and art"—wonderful things in themselves, but not the "solutions" to said issue. To wit, few Westerners seem concerned with the band's "not-famous, not-female co-protesters," who face up to a decade in prison. We need to be furious at more than "how sad it is for some punk rockers to go to jail for a silly little church concert." Click through for Foust's full column. (Read more Pussy Riot stories.)

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