Pussy Riot Pays Homage to Eric Garner

 

Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot released their first English song on Wednesday, entitled “I Can’t Breathe,” inspired by the murder of Eric Garner (graphic video).

For those unfamiliar with the reference, “I can’t breathe” were the final words of an unarmed black man named Eric Garner – which he repeated 11 times – before he was choked to death by NYPD police officers. Garner’s death was followed less than a month later by the shooting of another unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo.

Neither officers – Daniel Pantaleo nor Darrell Wilson – were indicted for the charges.

As stated to the Guardian, Pussy Riot has dedicated their song to “those who can no longer breathe. To Eric Garner and to all who suffer from state terror – killed, choked, perished because of war and police violence – to political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change.”

The video shows band members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina wearing Russian riot police uniforms and being buried alive, scenes that are nothing short of haunting. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina explained to the Guardian that the riot police uniforms symbolize the monopoly of power and violence that police departments hold throughout the world.

Pussy Riot is no stranger to political protest – they were jailed for over a year in 2012 for performing a punk protest song in a Moscow cathedral. They were also violently attacked at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics by Cossack militia members – whipped and thrown to the ground – to stop their performance.

As they told the Guardian in the same interview, “We’ve known, on our own skin, what police brutality feels like and we can’t be silent on this issue.”

The song ends on a somewhat optimistic note, calling out to protesters and activists throughout the world to not allow for the deaths of Garner and Brown, among thousands of others, to be forgotten and passed in vain:

“We’re only halfway down

Who dares to take a breath?

Some fairness might be found

From ashes of his death.”

(For a more thorough read on Pussy Riot & the punk movement, stay on alert for our upcoming annual issue, article by Daniela Attia.)

 

Show More

Related Articles

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button