Eurovision – Dark shadows Over Azerbaijan’s Big Moment

The April 17, 2012, CQ Global Researcher,  “Future of the EU,” included  a feature about how politics and music often collide during the annual Eurovision Song Contest, in which European countries nominate a song to represent them in the grand finale competition held each May. This year is no different. Politics has threatened to drown out the music altogether, much to the consternation of last year’s winners and this year’s host, Azerbaijan. The central Asian country had hoped the contest would portray it in a positive light. Instead, a bizarre, unholy alliance by those on both the right and left is heaping embarrassment on the organizers and the host.

First, neighboring Armenia boycotted the contest because of a dispute over Nagorno Karabakh, the ethnic Armenian separatist enclave in Azerbaijan. Then, international human-rights groups began protesting the Azeri government’s record of suppressing free speech and repressing political opposition. Then, ultra-nationalistic, homophobic groups inside Azerbaijan launched cyber-attacks that crashed Eurovision’s websites. The groups claim the glitzy, campy pop music contest is a glorified “gay pride” parade that will sully the nation’s reputation. Then, neighboring Iran withdrew its ambassador, in part because of the gay pride claim and partly because its arch-foe, Israel, competes in the event.

Hopefully, tomorrow’s performances will be spellbinding enough to eclipse the negative spotlight generated by those exploiting Eurovision for their own political purposes.

--Brian Beary, Contributing Writer, CQ Global Researcher