Posts Tagged ‘Eurovision Song Contest’

Dictators in Central Asia like music – some musicians like the dictators

September 4, 2013

Jennifer Lopez at ISC Miami.

Kanye West

On 28 May 2012 I congratulated Loreen – the Swedish winner of the Eurovision song festival – as she was the only of the contesting artists who stood up for human rights. During her visit to Baku she visited human rights defenders at risk during a meeting the NGO Civil Rights Defenders arranged. The Government of Azerbaijan tried to downplay the issue by saying that music and human rights have to be separate, but it is shocking that a number of musicians seem to agree with this position.

The New-York based Human Rights Foundation, on 3 September 2013,  reports that the American musician Kanye West performed at the wedding of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson last Saturday night in Kazakhstan. He reportedly received $3 million for the private engagement in the oil-rich former Soviet state, which has been autocratically since 1991. West’s lucrative private performance comes on the heels of a similar concert given by Jennifer Lopez for the dictator of neighboring Turkmenistan earlier this summer, which sparked a worldwide media interest. At the time, Lopez claimed ignorance of Turkmenistan’s notorious human rights abuses. West is not the first global celebrity to be approached to play in Kazakhstan: in 2011, Sting refused to play a private concert there, citing concern over the repression of workers in the country.

To boycott or not: Rebecca Vincent devotes a post to this issue after seeing the Malmo Eurovision song festival

May 20, 2013

A long and very interesting blog post on Al-Jazeera (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/2013519690697916.html) by Rebecca Vincent goes back to Azerbaijan 2012 and reflects on the pros and cons of boycotts as an action to tool for human rights defenders:
“As an estimated 125 million viewers tuned in to watch the grand final of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden, on May 18, I could not help but think how different this year’s Eurovision experience was from last year’s, when the contest was held in Baku, Azerbaijan.   Read the rest of this entry »

While Loreen sang the Government of Azerbaijan upped the pressure on HRDs

June 2, 2012


Maria Dahle is the Executive director of the Human Rights House Foundation in Oslo (<http://www.humanrightshouse.org>) and helped to organize the press meeting for Eurovision winner Loreen with HRDs in Baku as I reported earlier. She draws our attention to what was said around the same time by Ali Hasanov, head of the socio-political department of the Presidential Administration, in a speech at a conference, “The role of NGOs in the developments of civil society”. One quote tells it all: “Civil society organizations should mobilize its resistance against such groups. You – civic organizations – have to put your stance against all these. These opposition activists, journalists and media outlets shouldn’t feel dared to go out to the city and they should be felt ashamed. They shouldn’t dare to appear in the public places, streets. Public hatred should be demonstrated against to them.
No further questions your honor!

 

Loreen’s meeting also on YouTube

May 28, 2012

Swedish Eurovision contestant Loreen at her own initiative visited IRFS offices to meet with IRFS chairman Emin Huseynov, Human Rights Club chairman Rasul Jafarov, and Norwegian Human Rights House foundation co-coordinator Shahla Ismayilova. Her aim was to learn about the state of human rights in Azerbaijan and in particular the Sing for Democracy campaign. The event took place at IRFS with the support of the Swedish Civil Rights Defenders organization and Norwegian Human Rights House foundation. A number of international press representatives attended.

Jafarov guided Loreen through a photo exhibition depicting illegal housing demolitions, and spoke about the general human rights situation in Azerbaijan. The campaign video along with footage from the afternoon’s protest was also shown.

Loreen meets press and HRDs

Exceptional: Loreen is a Eurovision winner interested in human rights defenders

May 28, 2012

Loreen supports human rights

Photo: Stian Skaget

It is right to congratulate Loreen as she was the only of the contesting artists who stood up for human rights. During her visit to Baku she visited human rights defenders at risk during a meeting the NGO Civil Rights Defenders arranged. The Government of Azerbaijan may have tried to downplay the issue by saying that music and human rights have to be separate but that did not work.

http://www.civilrightsdefenders.org/news/loreen-is-a-winner/

See more pictures from Loreen’s meetings with human rights defenders in Azerbaijan, on Civil Rights Defenders Facebook page

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