NOT DEAD: AROUND THE WORLD, PUNK IS STILL A THREAT TO AUTHORITY
The Pussy Riot story has reached international headlines, exemplifying the intense governmental and societal reactions to punk culture that have persisted around the world this year.
In December 2011 in Banda Aceh, authorities raided a punk rock concert and detained 65 youths, calling punk culture a threat to Islamic values. Police forced the young punks — mostly males — into camps where they experienced a “moral education,” reported the Guardian, which included forcibly shaving their mohawks, removing their piercings, bathing in a lake, changing their clothes, and participating in guided group prayers.
In March 2012, 14 emo kids were stoned to death in Baghdad, victims of extreme skull fractures, over the course of three weeks by Shiite militants who perceived emo culture as gay and Satanist. Over 20 other local emo kids received death threats. “We strongly warn you, to all the obscene males and females, if you will not leave this filthy work within four days the punishment of God will descend upon you at the hand of the Mujahideen,” reads a pamphlet circulated by militants, according to Rolling Stone. (Emo kids were also targeted in Querétaro, Mexico in a series of attacks in 2008, leaving multiple victims bloody and injured.)
In February 2012, several American publications reported on Burmese punk band Rebel Riot and the burgeoning punk culture throughout the repressive state of Burma, where being involved in the punk scene means risking attacks. “We live in a damn police state in which we’re risking our lives,” Ko, a 38-year-old punk concert organizer in Burma, told ABC News. “In Burma, punk is not a game.”
On the night of February 25th, Cuban punk musician Gorki Aguila was arrested by Castro State Security. It wasn’t the first time. In 2008, the musician was arrested for “dangerousness.” Aguila is a critic of the Cuban regime and supporter of human rights activism whose punk-rock band Porno para Ricardo has been banned from holding concerts in their home country.