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Patti Smith dedicates song to Edward Snowden and Russian punk rockers

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Dec 31, 2013 | 1:55pm EST

Punk icon Patti Smith celebrated her 67th birthday by dedicating a song to infamous U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and newly-free punk rockers Pussy Riot at a concert on Monday (30Dec13). Smith commemorated her birthday by taking the stage at New York City's Webster Hall, but the outspoken singer made sure that the show wasn't all about her. Near the end of her two-hour gig, Smith paid tribute to the former U.S. secret service agent and the Russian artists for their activism and protests against the government. Smith praised Pussy Riot stars Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, who were freed from prison last month (23Dec13), after serving almost two years on hooliganism charges for staging a controversial church protest against Russian leader Vladimir Putin. She stated she was happy the punks "continue to use their voice, because it’s very dangerous for them to do so," and told the audience "do not underestimate the danger those girls face by speaking their mind." She continued, "Edward Snowden, Pussy Riot, these people speak for us all, all of us who are no longer numb, all of us who are no longer dumb." In a new song, she even changed the lyrics to take a shot at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), singing, "All of our phone numbers, all of our personal business, the business of our government, Edward let it snow, Edward let it snow," referring to Snowden's efforts to expose the extent of surveillance operations in the U.S. and U.K. Smith then changed the lyrics to one of her most popular songs, Rock n Roll N**ger, to incorporate mentions of Pussy Riot and Snowden.

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