Eurovision: Will you visit?

by Gulara Azimzade

I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace…

 Helen Keller

Held in Germany, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest saw Azerbaijan come first despite bookmakers’ predictions that France or United Kingdom will win. Following their victory, Eldar and Nigar’s (or Ell and Niki) “Running Scared” was placed in tens of hundreds if not more of music charts. Everyone in Azerbaijan was happy, flooding the streets with flags in their hands, feeling proud of their country.  Honestly, it did nothing for me. Not because I wasn’t happy for the victory, or for the tens of thousands of tourists who will visit the country next year, or for the 800 million people Googling “Azerbaijan” in a single night and the world becoming aware of Azerbaijan. I could only think of one thing: will Armenia come to Azerbaijan next year? And if they do, how will they be received?

To come to a neighbouring country that was pronounced the “enemy” in a competition, is courageous (though some would say it would mean “volunteering to be a clown”).  I don’t believe there will be any discrimination on an official level this would only result in the country’s image being degraded. What bothers me more is how the people, the masses, and the society will react to this? After all, the conflict is most tense on public level rather than on an official.

Suppose that the Armenian delegation comes to Azerbaijan. I can already more or less imagine the way events will unfold: each representative will be checked more thoroughly than others, and will be assigned someone from the Ministry of Security (this is often the case during international events). In the meantime aggressive groups created by virtual “heroes” would only make things worse by calling others to join such hatred-spewing groups. And it is likely, this wont just be it.

I guess, what I am trying to say here is, if you really look at it, the point isn’t even Eurovision – everyone knows perfectly well that this is a political contest and neither music nor creativity play a big role in it. On the “Wikipedia” page of the contest, there is already piece of news saying that Austria, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden have confirmed their participation in the next year’s contest, which will take place in Baku.  Armenia initially declined, the reason being some unknown injustice towards them during the 2011 contest. However, this is an initial decision and Armenia has plenty of time to change this decision.

In addition, Armenian singer Shushan Petrosyan told media she wanted Armenian rock group Dorians to represent Armenia in Eurovision 2012 but once Azerbaijan won, she lost this desire.  As the time for the next year’s contest draws closer, feelings grow stronger. Just the other day, the LGBT community, which is not tolerated in the whole Caucasus, opened its very first domain in the Caucasus- gay.az.  To my surprise, there was no real reaction from society. Perhaps, it is no coincidence that this site opened around the same time as Eurovision contest. Maybe this contest will have an influence to bring about new dialogue?

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