Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Serbia, Azerbaijan: Eurovision and Other Connections

Serbian writer Vladimir Arsenijević discussed the connections between Serbia and Azerbaijan, starting with the case of erecting a monument to late Azeri president Heydar Aliyev in Belgrade, covered by Global Voices.

His text, originally titled "Godzila vs King Kong" was first published in German by TAZ.de under the title "Galaxie der Eurokitch", also appeared on several independent portals in Serbian (e-Novine, Buka, Peščanik) and Macedonian (Okno). Arsenijević writes:
...Even though these countries are somewhat remote and have very different cultural, political, and economic concepts, they are also connected by a range of similarities. One of them--to tell the truth--is in the state of perpetual economic disaster, while the other is getting richer every day. One of them is ruled by an unscrupulous and insatiable political class, while the other is ridden by a classic rising dynasty and the accompanying nouveau riche clique. The differences are numerous, but the similarities are equally telling. Both countries are in a gripping search for a new and modern identity--each in its own way--unready or even incapable to denounce their old habits, the imaginative ways to abuse power, and their own historical and territorial obsessions and illusions. Neither of them enjoys some reputation within the international community. They are famous for pervasive, deeply rooted and incredibly durable corruption which in many ways infiltrates all pores of society. They are also famous for solving territorial problems by "defending" disputed areas (Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo) through bloody wars, which are lost together with the above mentioned territories. Both countries have difficulties with the basic understanding and respect for human rights and contemporary values in general, and their efficient implementation.
And, last but not the least, both Serbia and Azerbaijan,  have won the famous Eurosong, the Eurovision Song Contest.
And while mentioning that the Serbian hosting of the Eurosong 2008 brought a temporary respite of the endemic homophobia, which welcomed/ignored the gay tourists which flocked to Belgrade, Arsenijević draws various other parallels, and states:
...one could say that the Eurosong, in the sense of respect of the rules of good taste reflects the state of Azerbaijan and Serbia in the sense of respect for human rights and individual freedoms. This mega-pleiad of Euro-kitsch and Euro-amateurism promotes a conservative, endlessly conventional and foolish musical and any other kind of taste, spirit.. And even worldview, if you will, with the obligatory waving of state flags and voting according to national-ethnic relatedness. Therefore this is essentially an anti-European manifestation, a parade of bad lip-synched music and stupid songs turned into a hysterical contest which incites the lowest passions of the European peoples. 

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