Posts Tagged ‘Loreen’

Star power and human rights: a difficult but doable mix

February 10, 2014

RED-FACED. Jennifer Lopez performing for the leader of 'one of the world's most repressive regimes,' according to Human Rights Watch. Photo by Agence France-Presse/Igor Sasin

 (Jennifer Lopez performing for the leader Turkmenistan. (c) Agence France-Presse/Igor Sasin)

In quite a few earlier posts in this blog I have drawn attention to stars and celebrities who either support dictators or simply do not care that their actions do. So, I was quite happy to see a thoughtful piece by Jo Biddle of Agence France-Presse on 9 February 2014 analyzing this issue a bit more in-depth, with actress Scarlett Johansson as the “poster girl of Israeli apartheid”, Dennis Rodman in North Korea, and Kim Kardashian expressing her love of Bahrain. I would add, Mariah Carey who thinks nothing of singing for Gaddafi or the Angolan President, while Jennifer Lopez (picture above) did the same in Turkmenistan.

The author rightly states that when celebrities wander into complex foreign policy issues, it can be a minefield, leaving diplomats and human rights campaigners scrambling for damage control. The article mentions exceptions such as Bob Geldof, Bono, George Clooney or Angelina Jolie Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

“One Hour of Human Rights” broadcasts on private channel in Sweden

January 15, 2013

The Stockholm-based NGO Civil Rights Defenders hosts regular morning seminars called “One Hour of Human Rights” at its head office in Stockholm. These seminars are broadcasted live on its Bambuser channel and are also available to be viewed afterwards. The next one will be on 23 January 2013 on Burma/Myanmar: “Strengthened or weakened rights in the advancement of foreign investment?” [Burma/Myanmar is opening up after decades of military dictatorship, isolation and conflict. Rich natural resources and low production costs attract international companies. In the process there is a real risk that human rights may be disregarded. Hear Donna Guest, leading expert on human rights in Burma, speak about the challenges facing investors.]

The latest was on 28 November 2012: Silence over Eurovisionland

Civil Rights Defender’s meeting in BakuAs the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 was disappearing from people’s minds, the Azeri government has put all its efforts on controlling freedom of expression, assembly and association in the country. Rasul Jafarov is Chairman of the Human Rights Club and Campaign Coordinator for Sing for Democracy, spoke about human rights in Azerbaijan. Special guest: Loreen.

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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