North America

US: ‘Pussy Riots’& Sr. Rice

THIS is a tale of two protests; one in Russia and the other in the United States. How both stories were treated in the U.S. press tells yet another story. First, to Russia. Two members of the Pussy Riots musical band landed in the U.S. in the first week of February amidst great media fanfare.
Having emerged from prison as 2013 wound up, the two members of the Moscow-based Russian rock band came to the U.S. as part of a world tour to promote their music and anti-Putin (Russian president) mission.
While in the U.S., Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova toured a number of media houses, including the prestigious New York Times and appeared at concerts and other public events where they were lavishly hailed as custodians of human rights in Russia.
To further show how important the U.S. government regarded the renegades, Maria and Nadezhda were accorded the honour of paying a courtesy call on the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. And, emboldened by their high-profile reception, the ladies even called on the world to boycott the winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
But, on that score they did not succeed. In the frenzy to outdo one another in praising the Pussy Riot ladies, practically no one in the usually inquisitive U.S. media bothered to mention the immediate reason a Russian court sentenced the musicians to jail in 2012. Well, here is the reason: three ladies of the Pussy Riots made their way to the altar at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour church in Moscow and staged a punk-prayer-protest-dance against President Putin.
It is the equivalent of a group of scantily dressed Nigerian female musicians forcing their way to the tabernacle inside the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos Island, to let bum-bum gyrate to the sound of Ikwokrikwo music because they hate Goodluck Jonathan. That act was seen as a great artistic expression of human rights protest in the U.S. media, which why the ladies where hailed and given such warm reception.
Now, to the other story in the U.S. Megan Rice is Catholic nun. On February 18 this year, just as members of the Pussy Riots were ending their “successful” tour of the U.S., Sr. Rice was sentenced to nearly three years in jail for breaking into a U.S. nuclear facility in Tennessee with two men, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli. Sister Rice and her two male colleagues are anti-nuclear weapons activists.
In July 2012 they armed themselves with ordinary pliers, matched to the high-security nuclear facility which housed uranium for the U.S. nuclear industry, cut a portion of the wire-fenced and gained unhindered entrance into the high-security compound.
There, they smeared blood on some of the tanks in the facility, sang some songs and sat down to eat their lunch as they waited for the security personnel to come and arrest them.
They did not try to escape. It took about an hour of waiting for the security people in the high-security zone to notice that the security alarm in the facility had gone off. They rushed to the place and arrested Sister Rice with her friends. Sr. Rice, you may want to know, is an 84-year-old lady!
Upon her sentencing, Sr. Rice told reporters that her only regret about the incident was that she waited for more than seventy years to do the deed; she should have done it much earlier in her life! For a frail lady of 84 years, three years in jail is more like a life sentence.
But, Sr. Megan Rice is not complaining. In fact, during the sentencing, she told the judge: “Please have no leniency with me. To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.”She, like the biblical Daniel who was thrown into a den of lions because of his belief in his God, is much appreciative of the fact that she had made her point and was now happy to serve her term in joy and happiness.
As an anti-nuclear weapons activist, nothing was more precious than an 84-year-old lady successfully gaining entrance into a U.S. top security nuclear facility just by cutting the barbed wire-fence around the building. Perhaps when Sr. Ricefinally meets her God she would proudly stand before him and proclaim: Lord, I did it!
Here is beef of the stories: two young ladies who, in the process of a protest against their president in Russia, went to the altar inside a holy place of worship in Moscow to do their “dirty dance” and were appropriately jailed for their act. In the U.S. they were hailed as human rights, gay-rights, pro-democracy, anti-Putin activists and were given a visa to come to the U.S. to be celebrated.
The U.S. media heaped praises on the ladies. Yet, in the same U.S. an 84-year-old nun whose activism is against the dangers posed by nuclear weapons to our world, was thrown into jail for her courage and protest.
The media hardly noticed Sr. Rice and her two colleagues except report their sentencing the way they could have reported the sentencing of some hard-core criminals that robbed banks and committed all sorts of mayhem. Sr. Rice was hardly celebrated for her anti-nuclear weapons activities.
One of the few people who called attention to her brave act was Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. But to most of the news media, Sr. Rice and her colleagues did not amount to anything as substantial as the dancing Pussy Riots ladies!
I wonder what would have been the fate of the Pussy Riot ladies if they were Americans protesting against President Obama by dancing Beyoncé’s “all the single ladies” at the altar inside the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
 

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