Dec 14, 2012

What You Banish from Daylight Does Not Disappear

Noelle's teeth chattered, though the night was warm. Maj tugged at her sleeve. "Hurry up," she said, "the show begins in five minutes."
"What if Minders catch us?" Noelle asked. "This was a terrible idea. Let's go home."
"Say what?" Majj said. "I've never seen a movie in my life."

out for a walk
by seamless

Today I got to thinking: What if a given society banished moving pictures on religious or sociopolitical grounds? This feeds into the twin concepts of censorship and blasphemy.

In fact, the very notion of blasphemy can be wielded as a political tool against people who hold minority views. On February 21, 2012, five members of the punk rock collective Pussy Riot staged a guerrilla concert in a Russian Orthodox church, and their performance was subsequently edited into a music video called "Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!"

Three members of Pussy Riot sit in a defendant cage during their trial.
Yes, a defendant cage. Image via Guardian
Pussy Riot's performance was described as hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Now, one thing I'd like you to bear in mind is that corruption favors plutocracy (the rule of money, as opposed to the rule of law) and plutocratic regimes do not look kindly on divergent thought. Transparency International publishes the annual Corruption Perceptions Index*. For the year 2012, Russia ranked 133rd.

Dissidence is integral to freedom of speech; without built-in tolerance for opinions you may disagree with, you don't have a democracy. Because democracy doesn't exhaust itself in the right to vote. It includes the right to participate in public discussions, the right of assembly and, more fundamentally, the right to challenge the actions taken by people in power.

Corrupt regimes train you to accept things as they are, to shrug off injustice and tell yourself, "There's nothing I can do." Not to tell right from wrong. This is the beginning of systemic corruption -- a disease that topples empires.

The authorities need your consent. When you don't speak out against terrible wrongs, somebody profits from your silence. As Alan Moore said, governments should be afraid of their people.

*Interactive map and explanation here. Go and check it out, it's worth it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment