There are a lot of dangerous places to be a political dissident. As we speak, across the world countless people fear for their safety because they have spoken out against the authoritarian regime controlling their homeland. Despite urges from friends and family not to go, we trekked to a fascist, dystopian hellscape to meet with freedom fighters, “Anti-Flag,” to talk about what everyday life is like in Western PA.
To protect the safety of those interviewed, the identity of the band members is being withheld. Each band member will be referred to by the name “Chris” followed by a number.
The Hard Times: Thanks for talking with us. We think it’s really important that the world hear about your lives as political dissidents.
Chris #1: It’s important to us too. We gotta do anything we can to speak out.
So first we have to ask, how are you all holding up? We know it can’t be easy living like this.
Chris #4: Of course it ain’t easy but we persevere. It’s one day at a time, fighting the power and keeping Mayor Gainey in check. Just tryin’ to keep the three rivers clean, that’s what we always say!
Wow, inspirational. Really gives you a lot to think about.
Chris #2: I’m sorry, can I ask, how did you say you were gonna do the names for this interview?
You absolutely can ask that, Chris #2. I can see your fighting spirit the way you’re always questioning things, Chris #2.
Chris #2: See it’s just that my name actually is “Chris” so I don’t think the pseudonyms are gonna work.
Chris #1: I have similar concerns regarding the Chris/number system.
My word! The iron fist that Allegheny County uses to rule over its subjects must be all-encompassing if you’re scared even while using our sophisticated code names. Hey, don’t you all go by those dumb punk nicknames anyway? What’s your full name? I bet it’s “Chris Crass.”
Chris #3: Look, if you wanna know about our politics just check out our latest album. I believe it’s our four-thousandth. But this one really encapsulates the hardships we’ve had to deal with now that we’ve been trapped at home for two years.
Wonderful. Stay strong.
Chris #2: So are we seriously doing nothing about the fucking name thing?