Estimated reading time: 6 minutes —
Dear Nadya #2
When I first thought of writing to Nadya Tolokno (Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova / Наде́жда Андре́евна Толоко́нникова) & Masha / Maria Alyokhina (Maria Vladimirovna Alyokhina / Мари́я Влади́мировна Алёхина) of course I pompously said to myself, well, this is really important, courageous heroes persecuted for their patriotism, I’ll just have to write to them every day! Then it took me a week to write the first letter and another week to actually get it mailed. It was mailed a week ago, so I guess this is my second weekly letter.
Meanwhile, in the mess over Syria, at least this week, it seems like Advantage Putin, with Obama looking tired. From the progressive perspective of someone like Agnes or myself, the work that Nadya, Masha, Katia, and the entire Pussy Riot movement have done is so important, but I wonder how much the people of Russia even think of their message at this moment as their “leader” takes focus on the world stage.
Of course Russia isn’t the only place where the self-interests of a political leader and a religious leader collude to take freedom and voice from the people. After the rigged Iranian elections of 12 June 2009, the opposition Iranian Green Movement emerged. They had momentum and the focus of the world for a while. But they couldn’t change their country fast enough for the appetite of the Western news cycle, and when Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009, Western media was bored with the Iranian Green Movement and thrilled for something new and audience engaging to report.
I’m no geopolitical scholar, but I think almost no one around the globe wants Western intervention, but that most progressives struggling for freedom and self-determination, do want attention from Western media. In the case of the Iranian Elections, I’ve heard it said that Michael Jackson’s death was “the best thing that ever happened for the regime.” When Western media looked the other way, people on the ground died.
I wonder what Nadya would think about Putin’s “global leadership” as he takes focus on Syria? Safe to say we won’t know any time soon. As English PEN advised about writing letters to her in prison,
We don’t have any strict guidelines, though would obviously recommend that you don’t include anything overtly political.
Talk about neutralizing your critics and crushing political speech! Just lock the opposition up in harsh Soviet-era labor camps 400km outside of Moscow where, if they don’t die, they’ll at least be unable to hear or speak. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova & Maria Alyokhina are scheduled to be released from prison on 3 March 2014. Sometimes in my dreams I imagine President Tolokno signing a treaty with President Snowden. The cynicism of the geopolitical chess game where the same country that holds Pussy Riot political prisoners, grants asylum to Edward Snowden, brings a tear to my eye every day.
[tminus t=”03-03-2014 00:01:00″ id=”nadya-masha-free” width=”600″ omitweeks=”true” style=”hoth” before=”
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova & Maria Alyokhina free in:
from Google Translate:
Last time I forgot to run my English > Russian Google Translate back through as Russian > English to see how distorted it got. Here’s this week’s letter:
• English PEN / Anniversary of Pussy Riot Conviction
• English PEN / English PEN Meets Pussy Riot
• Free Pussy Riot.org
• SFMOMA / Noah Miska About the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike
• Wikipedia / Iranian Presidential Election, 2009
• Wikipedia / Michael Jackson
Photo of Nadya Tolokno with unidentified friends, date unknown, from VG Saveliev’s LiveJournal.
A big thank you to the cool peeps over at TwinPictures.de for their awesome T Minus CountDown WordPress plugin. It’s used in this post and also on the home page of iRez. Thanks guys!
• WordPress Plugin Repository / T(-) CountDown
• TwinPictures Plugin Oven / jQuery T Minus CountDown Widget