Musical Martyrs: Bands Who've Been Punished for Their Politics

By Tom Hawking

Pussy Riot isn't the first band to suffer consequences after expressing dissent. Take a look at some other musical acts who have also drawn the ire of political and religious leaders.

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Members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot try to perform at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. (AP Images)
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By now you probably know that on Friday, Russian feminist punks Pussy Riot received a guilty verdict and a jail sentence of two years. The Kafka-esque spectacle of the band being tried for the "crime" of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" has been an entirely depressing affair—our own Marina Galperina has written extensively about it over at ANIMAL—and while we didn't hold out much hope for a not-guilty verdict in the first place, we do hope that the amount of publicity the trial has generated means that any conviction is very much a Pyrrhic victory for the Russian government. Sadly, the members of Pussy Riot aren't the only musicians who've suffered through authoritarian governments attempting to silence them—Russia, after all, isn't the only place where making music and/or being politically outspoken can land you on the wrong side of the law. So here's a selection of other musicians, both past and present, who've endured similar treatment at the hands of their country's governments.

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/08/musical-martyrs-bands-whove-been-punished-for-their-politics/261272/