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Ethiopia's World / የኢትዮጵያ ዓለም

Europe Losing Its Vision

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 26, 2012

Ed’s note: The continental news Chanel,“Euronews” is broadcasting in 11 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Turkish and Persian. What have Arabic, Turkish and Persian to do with Europe? Why aren’t Hebrew and Greek included? you might ask, Greece is the cradle of Europe, and Israel is closer to Europe in many aspects than Turkey, Arabia or Iran. Well, may be there is some conspiracy against Greece and Israel? Europeans are getting tough and less friendly to these nations. According to the Book of Daniel those apostate western nations who betrayed Christianity will create a temporary alliance of convenience with the Muslim orient. These western nations are assisting Islamic movements in North Africa and the Middle East who are now grabbing power everywhere – these “democratic” nations fight alongside terrorist groups in Syria to topple a secular government while remaining silent when millions of Christians are persecuted and forced to leave their homelands – they are even willing to stage a music show in one of the most undemocratic, intolerant and despotic nations on the planet – Azerbaijan.

May these charming Orthodox grannies baptize the participants in the Holy Spirit, this Pentecost!

Europe’s version of ‘American Idol’ a joke

Normally, its viewers don’t associate “Eurovision” with global politics. The annual singing show is a camp retread of the cultural wasteland of the 1970s — all crashing ballads, gaudy europop and singing penguins. Britain has signaled its contempt for the contest by sending 76-year-old Engelbert Humperdinck as its representative, a man once regarded as a stud but who now looks eerily like one of those Mexican mummies. The crooner was born two decades before Eurovision even started, and it’s touch and go whether he’ll survive the weekend.

However, this year the contest, which holds its finals Saturday, has taken on an unexpected degree of controversy. It is being held in the oil-rich tyranny of Azerbaijan, and while contestants were warming up their acts this week, pro-democracy demonstrators were getting beaten in the streets of Baku. The annual singing contest draws an audience of 125 million across Europe, so the dictatorial regime of Ilham Aliyev had hoped to use it as an opportunity to sell his country to the world. Instead it has been a public relations disaster.

Explainer: What is Eurovision?

Arguably, the outrages in Azerbaijan have exposed a hidden dimension of Eurovision. It is and always has been a very political event. That’s more obvious this year than most because the politics of Europe are so blatantly and unavoidably polarized.

The most obvious problem is one of definition. What on Earth, you might ask, is a central Asian country like Azerbaijan doing in a contest called Eurovision? Nothing about contemporary Azerbaijan marks it out as distinctly European — it’s Islamic, undemocratic and many, many miles away from the continent.

It’s in the contest by an accident of history: Azerbaijan used to be part of the Soviet Union. Its leaders desperately wish to claim some European identity because they want to participate in capital and labor markets — something that should, theoretically, encourage democracy. But Ilham Aliyev also wants to retain the integrity of a classic Asian despotism. As the European Union engages farther eastward, through Turkey, it has to deal with nations and cultures like these that don’t precisely fit its Western, liberal template.

There are plenty of divides within continental Europe itself. Voting has always been political. Britain’s 1997 victory was widely interpreted as a “thumbs up” for having elected the popular liberal leader, Tony Blair; its defeat in 2003 was punishment for the Iraq War. Likewise, Eurovision has traditionally operated a buddy system. Nordic countries often vote for each other and Cyprus typically favors Greece. In a way, that’s a good thing, because it means that no matter how awful an entry is, someone is duty bound to vote for it. Britain has been bailed out by faithful little Malta several times.

Continue reading…

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10 Responses to “Europe Losing Its Vision”

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