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Pussy Riot

Playing tonight? Watch what you sing in Morocco!

By William Graham, 4:37PM, Mon. Aug. 27, 2012

Pussy Riot

Quick music civic lesson here. This year, whether you're going to see music, listen to music, play music, or partake in a jazz, marching, or rock band, know that it hasn't always been legal. Nor is it legal in many parts of the world today to be involved in music in any capacity.

Last week, after Russian female trio Pussy Riot was sentenced to two years in prison for staging a punk rock protest in a Moscow cathedral, the U.S. and countries in the EU expressed dismay at the punishment being disproportionate to the crime. Disgracefully, this is nothing new. Musicians around the world are hard at work making music under the risk of arrest.

If you're Iranian, under Islamic law Western music is forbidden. Your parents could be jailed simply for hosting a garage band. Historically, music has been banned and censored along with instruments associated with cults and hedonism. In many countries today, females are banned from singing. In North Korea, music is state sponsored. In Morocco, rappers are imprisoned for political lyrics. In China, music is censored by the state.

Start the conversation. Don't take your rights for granted. Consider joining Amnesty International. Music is a privilege we don't often recognize in the West, and it's no joke that what's happening lawfully every moment in the Live Music Capital is illegal in other parts of the world.
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