The evolution of man is not self-evident.
It is not necessary that starting from homo sapiens (the knowing man), he will become something higher.
As defined by Umberto Eco, he developed into homo videns (the man that sees).
But he does not really see (from the Greek ancient “I know”).
The difference is the indifference and the lack of awareness and perception, when he looks at something, while the opposite happens when he sees something.
And a little “fixation” at the roots of the Greek language, defines the difference by itself.
The band of Pussy Riot, however, has the perception of the events around them, but also the awareness of them.
It is not just their activist action, but their own songs, which are trying to reveal the pain of people.
For those who are unable to defend themselves.
The song “I Can not Breathe” of 2015, basically works like a worldwide speaker.
It’s the last words of the New Yorker African-American Eric Garner.
These words were not enough to prevent the American metropolitan police from depriving him of his life.
The many inequalities of growing Russia are not the only influence of the Pussy Riot.
The events that inspired the Russians to create this song, happened on Staten Island, New York.
Specifically at 202 Bay Street, July 14, 2014, and 03:30 local time.
Two policemen immobilize the large African-American, with one of them head locking him for about 15-20 seconds.
They were enough for him to say his last words and become another victim of violence by the US police.
The victim suffered from asthma, something that Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico certainly did not know.
They never even believed the victim’s appeals for one more breath.
Later, it was ascertained that his death resulted from asthma attacks, caused by the policeman’s headlock.
The victim was also suffering from diabetes and hypertension, as well as discopathy.
However, the police did not even try to revive him.
His crime was that he sold single cigarettes, without paying tax for them, the so-called “loosies”.
An undercover police officer alerted the other two police officers, who showed extreme violence.
His friend Ramsey Orta recorded the whole scene with his cell phone and made it public.
In a very short time, the video goes all around the world through the news.
The father of six children, Eric Garner, was known for his peaceful nature, as his neighbors mentioned.
The members of the band in an interview on “The Guardian” said that these words (I Can not Breathe) are not just about the victim.
They concern both themselves as well as many others.
All those who “can not breathe” because of the unpunished violence of the authorities.
Ignoring the laws themselves, they use their power without measure.
Unpunished, with an excessive sense of strength, humiliating, oppressing, and killing
They have also felt the police violence themselves and can not be silenced about it.
The song was recorded in New York in December of 2014, during protests over the police violence, in which they participated in.
Also participated in the recording:
- Andrew Wyatt (beats) of the Swedish Miike Snow,
- Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeah (piano and bass),
- The Russian band Scofferlane,
- And Jack Wood (vocals).
The band said the song is not of the kind played by the Pussy Riot.
They define the song as an industrial ballad, dark and with sounds of the city.
The rhythm and beat of the song are like that of the heartbeat just before it stops beating.
The usual aggression of punk compositions is missing from this song, as a reaction to the tragedy itself, which it describes.
The video clip
The video clip is full of symbolism.
From a crumpled pack of cigarettes to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.
Who are wearing uniforms of the special forces of the Russian police, while they are buried alive.
On the empty pack of cigarettes, the brand written is, “Russian Spring”.
This term is used by supporters of the invasion of the Russian army in Ukraine.
At the end of the song, Eric Garner‘s words are heard, read by Richard Hell.
A punk artistic and musical personality, who also inspired Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols.
Eric Garner’s last words (read by Richard Hell)
“Get away. For what?
Every time you see me, you want to mess with me
I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…?
Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing
I did not sell anything
Because every time you see me, you want to harass me
You want to stop me selling cigarettes
I’m minding my business, officer
I’m minding my business
Please just leave me alone
I told you the last time, please just leave me alone
Please. Please. Don’t touch me. Do not touch me
I can’t breathe…”