I’ve had trouble finding the words to express my admiration of the brave women of the Russian punk band “Pussy Riot.” They were arrested for a 30-second prank performance criticizing President Vladimir Putin, and sentenced to two years in a penal colony.  I will let them speak for themselves, which is what I’m here to do.

I do want to point out 1. These messages are much bigger than one country, and

2. How do you know your voice is powerful?  When people want to silence you.  Ladies, take this to heart. Every time someone minimizes our experiences, every time someone tells us that our assaults were not “legitimate” or that we may not use the medical words for our own body parts in their presence, it is because

our voices are powerful!

Their arrest is proof in itself that they were doing something powerful.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, “I don’t want to label anyone. It seems to me that there are no winners, losers, victims, or defendants here. We all simply need to reach each other, connect, and establish a dialogue in order to seek out the truth together.”

Passion, total honesty, and naïveté are superior to the hypocrisy, mendacity, and false modesty that are used to disguise crime.

Every day, more people understand that if the system is attacking three young women who performed in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for thirty seconds with such vehemence, it only means that this system fears the truth, sincerity, and straightforwardness we represent.

Yesterday, Madonna performed in Moscow with “Pussy Riot” written on her back. More and more people see that we are held here illegally, on false pretences. This amazes me. I am amazed that truth really does triumph over deception. Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us on the side of the prosecution. We can say anything we want and we say everything we want. The prosecution can only say what they are permitted to by political censorship. They can’t say “punk prayer,” “Our Lady, Chase Putin Out,” they can’t utter a single line of our punk prayer that deals with the political system.

-Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, member of Russian punk band “Pussy Riot”