Arab Today, arab today eurovision a stage for geopolitical conflicts
Last Updated : GMT 23:34:06
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Eurovision, a stage for geopolitical conflicts

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Eurovision, a stage for geopolitical conflicts

Conchita Wurst from Austria (C)
Vienna - AFP

Behind the kitsch, glitz and smoke machines of the Eurovision Song Contest -- hosted Saturday by Vienna -- hide more serious international geopolitical tensions, says the creator of the world's first university course on the popular music competition.

Historian Dean Vuletic leads a EU-funded research project at the University of Vienna, focusing on the annual Eurovision sing-off as a vehicle for diplomacy and socio-political messages.

"It is an effective tool to approach history because it prompts people to talk about political issues through cultural references," Vuletic told AFP in an interview.

For instance, it served as "a great mirror" for the complex relationship between the West and Soviet states during the Cold War.

Communist Yugoslavia's entry into Eurovision in 1961 -- barely six years after the contest was first launched -- helped demonstrate that it was the Eastern European nation most open to Western cultural influences back then, Vuletic argued.

"It was the only communist country that participated in it throughout the Cold War," he said.
Meanwhile, Austria sent a "highly symbolic message" in 1968, when Soviet tanks crushed the Prague Spring, by sending Czech singer Karel Gott as its representative.

"From the Austrian perspective, it was an expression of support for the reforms that were taking place and desire for closer ties with its eastern neighbours," said Vuletic.

The following year Austria boycotted the contest because it was being held in Spain, then under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Eurovision gained even greater political significance as countries of the former Eastern bloc began joining the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the song contest.

Accession was easy because the group had no political or economic entry requirements -- all a country needed was a public television service.

"From the early 1990s, it was really the first Western European organisation that former communist nations could enter," said Vuletic.

"They used it as a forum, in which they could express and affirm their aspirations for European integration."

Once these countries became members of NATO and eventually the European Union, however, Eurovision lost its lustre: "You can see that many of them stopped putting so much effort into the contest after their political aims were accomplished."

- 'We Don't Wanna Put In'

In more recent times, tensions between the West and Russia have flared up again, notably over Ukraine, and this too is being played out on the Eurovision stage.

At the 2014 competition in Copenhagen, just two months after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March, Russia's Tolmachevy Sisters were booed by the audience in the final.  

In contrast, Austria's bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst was wildly cheered and went on to win the contest.
Conchita "profited from the tensions between Russia and the West by presenting herself as a symbol of Western liberal values" -- especially in light of Russia's strong anti-gay stance -- said Vuletic.

Russia appears to fare better this year with singer Polina Gagarina, whose peace song "A Million Voices" was voted into Saturday's final in Vienna to loud applause.

While the EBU welcomes entries dealing with positive political themes, overtly critical or nationalist content is strictly forbidden.

Lyrics often tread a fine line here, such as the 2015 entry by finalist Armenia.

Many perceived the song, originally called "Don't Deny," to be a direct reference to the 100th anniversary of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces, which Turkey refuses to recognise as genocide.

In the end, Armenia changed the title to "Face the Shadow" to remove any suggestion of political intent.
Other nations have tried to find more creative ways of getting around the "no politics" rule.

Georgia attempted to join the 2009 edition in Moscow with the song "We Don't Wanna Put In". The EBU rejected the entry on the basis it was an obvious wordplay on Putin.

For Vuletic, the ideal Eurovision song carries a "strong universal message at the right historical time".

"Nationalist messages don't do well because they're not something that other Europeans can necessarily relate to."

 

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today eurovision a stage for geopolitical conflicts Arab Today, arab today eurovision a stage for geopolitical conflicts

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women
Arab Today, arab today Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions

GMT 17:46 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions
Arab Today, arab today To release new antiques collection

GMT 20:33 2017 Friday ,17 February

To release new antiques collection
Arab Today, arab today Leader Omar Abdel Rahman dies in US prison

GMT 19:00 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Leader Omar Abdel Rahman dies in US prison
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 02:44 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Abdullah praises diplomatic academy’s success

GMT 00:24 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Dubai Cares marks 10th anniversary

GMT 23:19 2017 Thursday ,16 February

UK to launch series of cultural programmes in UAE

GMT 13:11 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Qatar's Foreign Ministry Celebrates National Sports Day

GMT 08:02 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Bahrain Spring of Culture Festival launched

GMT 04:38 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Syrian films bring tears and smiles to Berlinale

GMT 04:13 2017 Thursday ,16 February

The world’s longest tunnel opens in Switzerland
View News in Arabic - Culture: مهرجانات عربية
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Porsche reveals new 2018 Panamera

GMT 17:31 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Porsche reveals new 2018 Panamera
Arab Today, arab today Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:05 2017 Friday ,17 February

Singer Diana Karzon will issue a new album soon

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 14:04 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

"Lagom" new Swedish concept in interior design

GMT 12:07 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Bite-mimicking malaria vaccine

GMT 09:03 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Tour guide praises women’s beaches

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 21:42 2017 Sunday ,12 February

Rania al-Ghazali designs candles of bubbles
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday