(Silence Does Not Become Me…)
I just had to give a shout out to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina & Yekaterina Samutsevich of the Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot and show my support because these ladies rock! I‘m a firm believer in speaking my mind (yes, you’ve probably noticed that with the incredible length of some of my blog posts) and thank goodness I was born in a free country or I would really be SOL if you know what I mean. So here’s a heads up, it’s about to get a bit loud in here…
And I know what you might be thinking, what on earth does this have to do with crafting?! The answer is nothing really, and yet it’s my blog and I can do what I want and the truth is this concerns you just as much as it concerns me, you just might not recognize it yet. Not everything can be viewed in black and white, but some aspects can and in this case, the honest to God truth is that when you remain silent, you are supporting the opposition. The opposition in this case is a government in which three women have been imprisoned for ‘hooliganism’ and two of which have been threatened with having their young children taken away based on those protests. That old rule ‘If you’re not with us you’re against us’ absolutely applies in this case and let’s not fool ourselves here, this is a human rights issue and it should concern us all.
I can see how if you were in the business of control the idea of removing dissidence would be your best bet, but when you’re looking for freedom of expression and liberation from outdated models for the way in which we live our lives, sometimes you need to tear down those barriers in order to bring about change, specifically because working within the confines of those perimeters is no longer possible to the state of your well being. On November 9th, 1989 the Berlin Wall was torn down piece by piece and it was radical political involvement that made that happen. That wall would have stayed up, separating families and friends perhaps indefinitely if protest had not taken place. The GDR would never have allowed that wall to come down if the radical voices of the people had not grown until it reached a tipping point. I remember the very moment crowds of people rushed at that wall, tearing it down with their bare hands. A poignant memory for anyone watching the tv coverage at that time and certainly one I will never forget.
I suppose that is why I am so offended when I read about the wall being erected to block Mexico and the US. I hate to bring politics into it and I recognize that I may be limiting my audience, but I’m not one for barriers and so it is with utmost sincerity that I voice my opinion here, because if I am silent, change does not happen. If you are silent, we remain locked within the confines of a social structure that specifically does not offer the strength and freedom we as a collective need in order to bring about progress. And isn’t that what we’re all here for anyway? You recognize that nothing in our world is intended to remain the same right? Tell me one thing that is meant to remain static in our environment. Go on, I’ll wait…
You couldn’t come up with anything could you? That’s what I thought. It would stand to reason then that if our world is not meant to remain the same, that change is a natural and expected aspect of our world. Since it’s going to happen anyway, I say let’s direct that change towards some major progress!
You might be saying to yourself ‘they were protesting in an orthodox church for goodness sake!’ as though for some reason that just doesn’t seem like a very good idea. It’s funny because in my opinion, that is exactly where the protests need to take place. Ohh I can hear you getting your brain waves all in a tizzy…just hold on! I’m not finished…
So yeah, I said that and no I’m not going to take it back, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-religion, but I will explain a bit further so don’t pop a valve. You see, years ago I traveled to the Middle East and though it was an incredible opportunity and one of the most beautiful trips I have ever been on, I learned a great deal about myself and the world around me. I realized that I am without reservation an independent, strong willed woman and I believe that *I and all of you should have freedom of expression and an opportunity in which to live our lives as we want them, without fear of persecution, and without prejudice. A tall order? I think not.
The real deal is that despite the seen and unseen walls that bind our countries, we’re not all that different and I like to believe we have reached a point in the history of our humanity in which those old rules should no longer apply. Another aspect I recognized on that trip was that some of the true barriers-those seemingly impenetrable ones-are those of the traditional values set forth by the church as they have remained untouchable in a sense, where as other aspects of society may have in some ways changed. I don’t mean to offend anyone and I certainly mean no disrespect, but I have to be honest, I was unseen in many of their eyes, as unseen as the blank face on an Amish doll, and that is no way for a person to live their life, especially when that traditional structure is dictating the actions of the people and directly resulting in the oppression of their lives.
And you might even say that with all of the problems we face today why should the protests and sentencing of these women directly affect you but I will remind you of one specific point and that is the idea that control is a tricky element, and one which prides itself on distractions and division among the people. The oppressions of our neighbors will naturally result in the oppression of ourselves if we remain silent to the revolt of those speaking out around us. We have a choice to lend support or allow the traditional controls that binds us to persevere. The latter leaves little to no room for who we are as individuals and who we want to be as we move forward. The former brings about positive change and quite honestly, I can’t help but think that once we have brought an element such as civil liberties into our reality, we should have an opportunity in which to apply that to any situation we may find ourselves, regardless of location. It now exists, all we need to do is claim it. That’s not to say some don’t pay the price for initializing the breaking down of those walls. These women are most certainly paying the price for attempting to claim that right for all of the people in their society. Those that stand in solidarity with them seem to recognize that.
So when Pussy Riot stood up and protested, with covered faces as though they were shouting ‘We might not be seen but we will be heard!’ I was so very proud. I could not help but take it as a very poignant aspect of where we are as a collective and how we want our future to unfold. Control does not bring about greatness, only unrest. Greatness comes in believing we can create the reality we desire, and having the freedom in which to do what we believe is important for our well being. And when you are unseen in your community it leaves a scar, whether anyone of us are willing to recognize that or not.
We’re more connected than any of us realize, and despite the differences in culture or location (or any other differences you may so conveniently want to materialize in which to argue this point), the truth is we’re stronger in numbers and this riot is not just for the girls, not just for the Russians, not just for the feminists and not just for the radicals, but for every single one of us. Trends in human conditioning are not subject to the same perimeters that the boundaries of countries are, and with that, we all have to remain vigilant when creating and maintaining a future in which we have the freedom in which to be ourselves and speak our minds, as well as change that which we truly recognize as no longer valid to the way in which we want to live our lives.
And so, out of respect for these women who had the guts to stand up and speak out, I say Free Pussy Riot!
And for those of you fearful that your voice will indicate radicalism, feminism, whatever your preconceived notions may be, I offer you an alternative, to simply put away those fears and open your minds to what you know to be right. And then remember this one rule…
Silence does not become you.