Riot Days – Speaking Truth to Power

Riot Days – Speaking Truth to Power

A guest blog from our Partner Christian Aid

Pussy Riot headlined Greenbelt 2018 with the live show of Masha’s book, “Riot Days”. It’s a powerful piece which dramatises Masha’s account of her two-year term in Russian colony prisons. Masha, and two other members of Pussy Riot, were arrested and imprisoned after performing their Punk Prayer in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The performance lasted just 40 seconds and challenged the close relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Government the Church, a relationship that had begun to see VIP guests given preferential treatment above general worshippers as well as the Church’s blind support of Putin. 

Pussy Riot stand up against injustice in Russia; they refuse to be silenced and its members are willing to be imprisoned for what they believe in. The book, which we highly recommend, is a lesson in activism and taking strength from your beliefs. While we hear about the appalling conditions and Masha’s struggle for justice, we also hear about her refusal to be silenced, her dedication to standing up for her beliefs and for what is right, not only for herself but for her fellow prisoners. We also hear a great deal about her belief that her protests and her actions were not against her faith, as so many of her opponents insisted.

At Christian Aid we are dedicated to speaking ‘Truth to Power’, to supporting those in need while challenging the structures that create and perpetuate that need. During the festival our Christian Aid volunteers Hatty and Dyfed interviewed Masha and Sasha. Sasha, Pussy Riot’s songwriter, praised the UK for its punk movement, for protests, for civil society and above all for inclusive activism:

 “We are still learning from the UK… [in the UK] it doesn’t matter what you believe in, or if it’s nothing at all, you are just starting to believe in people. With this faith [Christianity] it’s a very important thing, it helps you to believe in a good future and not to be angry at all.”
Sasha from Pussy Riot

At Christian Aid we are proud to campaign and lobby to challenge injustice around the world. It was a privilege to hear from Pussy Riot last summer. We can’t wait to hear who will be inspiring us this summer at Greenbelt 2019!