Pop Icon Talks
Equality And Freedom
We all know Madonna likes to push people's buttons, and sometimes we just want her to put a cork in it. But every once in a while, she actually brings a credible, albeit controversial, issue to light, and we respect her the more for it.
Madonna's stay in Russia (as part of her world tour) has been turbulent, to say the least — she's been subject to numerous threats of violence, as usual. But that did not prevent the Queen of Pop to make a statement worth hearing; neither did the fact that she was practically in the mothership of Russian authoritarian rule (the Kremlin being in Moscow).
The songstress decided to address the inequality and corruption that led to the arrest of three young Russian women of the punk-rock band Pussy Riot on the charge of hooliganism (claimed to be fuelled by religious hatred) for protesting at the altar of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow and calling out to the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of current president Vladimir Putin. The band is currently on trial, and the prosecutors are calling for three-year gaol sentences for the women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23; Maria Alekhina, 24; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29.
Madonna obviously is not taking this controversial case lightly; she made her plea to the crowd at the Moscow concert, first addressing the necessity of human freedom and tolerance.
"As you can see here on my stage, everybody with me comes from every different place in the world, from Africa, from America, from France, from Russia, from England.
"We are Christians, we are Muslims, we are Jews, we are everything you can imagine, but we are a family. We are together. We are gay, we are straight, we are human beings!
"And this very last sentence — human beings — is the most important one, and in fact the only one, that we should refer to each other... OK?"
The crowd naturally going wild between every sentence, Madge then moved closer toward the main issue at hand:
"I have the freedom to express my point of view — even if other people don't agree with me! Even if my government doesn't agree with me, I have the right to express my point of view... But my dream and my prayer is that everyone in the world has this right. Not only here in Russia, but in France, in Iran, everywhere in the world. As human beings, we should have the right to express our opinions and still be treated as human beings.
"I know there are many sides to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government, but I think these three girls — Masha, Katya, Nadya — I think they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act, and I pray for their freedom... I know everyone in this auditorium, if you're here as my fan, feels they deserve the right to be free."
We cannot help but applaud Madonna for her address, especially since it's dangerous to voice support for any "enemy" of the Russian state, right under Kremlin's nose. We hope her support of these three young women will give courage to others to speak up in their favour. Maybe it's not too late to interfere in the court proceedings.
Plus, it's nice to finally see a pleasant side of the Material Girl, one that does not trigger a gag reflex or a face-to-palm reaction… Like her exposed keister, or the swastikas or that tickling English accent she magically picked up.
Madonna is touching down in St. Petersburg (Russia's second largest city) today to continue her tour. She, her crew and the concert-goers have been targets of several threats, which the authorities are trying to manage currently.