Sunday, 15 May 2011

Azerbaijan to host Eurovision 2012. Intrigue of the moment: Will Armenia go to Baku?

I hope Armenia will go to Baku in 2012.

We should stop - and this is a good occasion to start with - once and for all this complex of losers or complex of inferiority between our countries, whenever either Azerbaijan or Armenia wins any international contest.

All talks of Armenia boycotting Eurovision in Baku I consider ridiculous and loser’s talk. Let’s pass that psychological complex, and rather concentrate on the quality of performance and the act chosen.

On the other hand, Azerbaijan must ensure that Armenian delegation and fans not only from Armenia but worldwide are able to attend the contest without having any problems with their yan/ian surname.

Problems facing by anyone with yan/ian surname was reminded once again in a post by IanYan:
Plans for Armenia to participate in the festivities in Azerbaijan will be difficult, as Armenians citizens as well as those from other countries who are of Armenian descent are forbidden entry into the country, especially if passports show any evidence of travel to Nagorno-Karabakh. Even the U.S. Department of State travel site warns against it:

“U.S. citizens of Armenian ancestry—you should know your visa applications may be denied by the Government of Azerbaijan on the grounds that your safety cannot be guaranteed,” it says, also adding, “U.S. citizens of Armenian ancestry considering travel to Azerbaijan–you should remain particularly vigilant when visiting the country, as the Government of Azerbaijan has claimed that it is unable to guarantee your safety.”
Azerbaijan must ensure that security of Armenian fans are guaranteed. No excuses will be accepted this time. If Azerbaijan fails to deliver on this, the country should be barred from Eurovision. This will be too damaging for Azerbaijan reputation to risk.

Back to the contest itself.

Azerbaijan was not among my favourites at Eurovision. And that guy looked too ‘sterile’, or shall I say, ‘asexual’ for my taste. I personally voted for Georgia, Greece and Slovenia. [Being in London, I could not vote for the UK, but Blue was among my faves too.]

But Azerbaijan delivered a well executed performance. They made efforts, and they won the contest. And I’d like to congratulate my Azeri friends.

Here is what was happening in Baku last night after the news on winning the contest brought youth to the streets of Azerbaijan capital.

Now the most intriguing and interesting part begins. The build-up to the Eurovision 2012. Will Azerbaijan deliver on the promise to “bring Europe together”?

Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines sums up general feeling of Azeri activists:
And as Azerbaijan celebrates its this year victory with a song called "Running Scared" by Nikki and Ell, one of Azerbaijan's young activists, Elnur Majidli declared wanted by Interpol. You know why? Well, simply because Azerbaijan chooses to spend thousands (if not millions) of government money on things like Eurovision while paying no attention whatsoever to the internal situation on the ground where for the record, journalists and activists get arrested on faked up charges.

So yea people, continue celebrating something as unnecessary and stupid as a Eurovision song contest, while turning a blind eye on human rights, freedom of expression and all the other violations taking place in your country. Because who cares about that right when Azerbaijan won such an important event of the year?!
These sentiments were echoed by @scaryazeri and Amnesty International:
@scaryazeri: Great! Now that everyone is excited about #Eurovision, we can all forget about human rights and other issues in #azerbaijan!

@amnestymanc: congrats to #Azerbaijan for #Eurovision win! Now pls free elections & media, no political prisoners & no torture
But there is now a potential for activists to use the Eurovision for advancing the rights in Azerbaijan.
@GoldenTent: #Democracy advocates of #Azerbaijan - 12 months of #Eurovision coverage can work to your advantage - start your engines! ;) #Caucasus #esc
We may safely bet that despite recent militaristic rhetorics from the Azeri authorities, there will be no war in the coming year.
@supersayatnova: Azerbaijan win at #Eurovision means one more year without war #esc
Another important issue. Eurovision is a contest with huge gay following. Azerbaijan winning the contest means 'Gay Pride parade' is coming to Baku. Will Azeri authorities be able to ensure that rights and the safety of LGBT fans and participants of the contest are protected and they won’t face discrimination? Gay activists in Azerbaijan and abroad could use the occasion to improve the situation with the gay rights and target widespread homophobia in the country.

One of the popular thoughts on Twitter was Armenia coming to Baku and winning the Eurovision 2012.
@mmkarmenia: Imagine if next year #Armenia takes the first place in #Azerbaijan, that can be something. #Eurovision 
@turkhankarim: Next year Armenians will come in Azerbaijan for Eurovision. And they will win... This is my peace opinion. Let it be true :)))
Truly, an incredible thought.

And to end this post, I chose this extremely positive tweet by @dolcenelly:
all i can say is that South Caucasus rules: both Junior and Senior Eurovisions are going to be held in this region!:) #positiveview #Arm #Az
Here is hoping.


Doc said...

I was quite shocked at the outcome last night. I didn't like it one bit. Not because it's Azerbaijan (they were one of my favorites in the first semi-final, where 90% of the performances sucked), but because there were other songs that were more deserving of the title. Like Germany (mostly because I'm a Lena fan :P), and Greece (I gave my gf a shock moment when I was like "dude, with that voice.. UNBUTTON YOUR SHIRT, NOT JUST YOUR JACKET!" when the singer opened his jacket in a ripping it off motion :) lol) And there were other favorites too, which were either fun, or just plain awesome.

And as much as I didn't like the outcome, after watching that video I couldn't help but feel happy for the Azeri people. I just love seeing happiness everywhere :)

I'm hoping that safety measures would be taken into consideration for the Armenian delegation and fans going there next year. And I sure hope they'll go, because this is about music, not about politics, after all.

But all in all, this year was a disappointment for me. The performances overall weren't as interesting as in the past, also the voting was so predictable (even though it's natural to happen, after all, politics has an upper hand in most things in life)

Rhiannon said...

I was worried about gay fans potentially going to Azerbaijan too...:S let's hope it will be ok, and hopefully also this will put the spotlight on Azerbaijan more with their human rights problems, too...

Sabit Asadov said...

I'll be glad to see fellow Caucasians in my city

Pippa said...

"Will Azeri authorities be able to ensure that rights and the safety of LGBT fans and participants of the contest are protected and they won’t face discrimination?" Yes!! It was legalised 10 years ago! There's so much ill-informed stuff out here on the blogosphere about Azerbaijan.

The other countries in the region are way, way behind Azerbaijan in their social reforms.

Given how we know everyone votes in blocs in Eurovision, I'd say if anything we should jump at the chance to go to Azerbaijan, where reforms ARE being made. If they vote in blocs to back Eurovision songs, maybe they'll follow Azerbaijan;s lead and vote to liberalise homoexuality, too! Azerbaijandidn;t have any political institutions 20 years ago. 10 years ago it made homosexuality legal. The pace of chance is pretty phenomenal.

Plus, lots of speculation that Azerbaijan's first ever entry into Eurovision was by gay musicians (in 2008) - see here: - surely, if true, that's a pretty clear sign that Azerbaijan is sending out to the world about its tolerant approach?

hampers said...

Seems like all went well this time around.

artmika said...

Important message from Eurovision to Baku: Azerbaijan must guarantee freedom of expression and sufficient visa entry [incl. for Armenians]

artmika said...

‘Two alternatives’ for Armenia re Eurovision in Baku? I don’t think so. No ‘music wars’, please