Friday, June 1, 2012

Eurovision Song Contest...Light Your Fire...and the Winner is...

Eurovision Song Contest…Light Your Fire...and the winner is…..

Every year, the Eurovision Song Contest is broadcast by the European Broadcasting Union all over Europe.  Each country submits an original song to be performed by an artist or artists from the respective country.  A jury of specialists, like American Idol, rates the songs to be sent on to the Grand Finale, which then is voted on by viewers all over Europe, and as far away as Azerbaijan.  Each year the huge television production is held in the country of the previous year’s winner.  And so it was, with great pride after winning the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, that Azerbaijan, known as the Land of Fire, hosted this year’s competition last weekend, with the theme and motto--Light Your Fire.  An elaborate new hall—the crystal hall palace in Baku—was built just for this event.  This Eurovision television spectacular was already a big event during the years that Bill and I lived in Germany in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and I remember well watching the shows every year to see which country would win—it brings pride and jubilation to the winning country, and after winning last year’s competition, throngs stormed the streets of Baku celebrating, as though they had just won the World Cup!

Because it must be shown during prime time in Europe, the semi-finals and the Grand Finale couldn’t start until midnight local time here in Azerbaijan.  But watch we must!  And so we had our own little PCV viewing party at the home of good friend of all Peace Corps Volunteers, Gulnaz.

Some chose to boycott the Song Contest in Azerbaijan, and others used the event to point out political issues that plague Azerbaijan’s reputation on the world stage.  Armenia, with a decades-long dispute over contested territory which they now occupy and on-going war with Azerbaijan, did not send an entry nor attend.  Other human rights organizations hoped to draw attention to the civil and human rights violations of a country known for imprisoning hundreds of journalists who oppose government policies and a country accused by others of corruption throughout many facets of society.  On international rankings of corruption and human rights violations, Azerbaijan scores poorly relative to the rest of the world, and especially relative to the rest of Europe.  Moreover, located in a strategically important part of the world, Azerbaijan reportedly thwarted numerous terrorists plots, which were designed to disrupt the Eurovision events.

But none of that seemed to dampen this year’s celebration which turned out to be quite a Baku party.  The city polished up its attractive and historic core, and put on the glitz and glamour that would rival any pop-culture show anywhere in the world.  And the winner—and host of next year’s competition…Sweden!  But I must admit, my favorites, the ones that I was rooting for, were—the pleasant German entry, the local favorite—Azerbaijan, the singing babushkas from Russia (came in 2nd place), and the fancy feet of the group from Malta…ah, well…

Have a view:

 Don't miss the singing Babuskas enticing everyone with "Party for Everybody":

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Azerbaijan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Azerbaijan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia,39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez