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Eurovision 2016: Just politics, nothing personal

The family of Ukrainian singer Jamala (born Susana Jamaladinova), lives a well-to-do life in the Crimea and refuses to move to Kiev.

Jamala, who won this year's Eurovision Song Contest, does not like to talk about her family. According to the singer, her father does not want to leave the house in an expensive resort town of Malorechenskoe near Alushta.

"I have tried to convince my parents to leave, but they said 'no,' Jamala said. "They had built the house and cultivated the garden with their own hands, and now I'm asking to give up all of this in a second. They are, of course, in the Crimea. My mom can not leave dad, and dad can not leave his grandfather ... This is very painful and difficult. I understand that they can not go. That pomegranate tree that grows in our yard, persimmons, figs - all of that is their house that they can not abandon," the singer said.

Jamaica's family does not complain of life. All the relatives of the "Ukrainian patriot" have received Russian citizenship and are satisfied with their lives. They have obtained certificates of rehabilitation, enjoy a 50% discount on water, electricity and gas and use free trips to resorts.

Jamala's family may have a reason to dislike the Russian administration. The Jamaladinovs were forced to close their inn on the coast, as it did not meet health standards and was operating without paying taxes.

Noteworthy, Jamala's sister Evelyn is married to a Turkish citizen and currently resides in Istanbul.

Jamala won Eurovision-2016 with a controversial song with overtly political and openly anti-Russian subtext. Although Eurovision is not a place for politics as the provisions of the song contest state, the jury chose the Ukrainian singer with a huge margin. Many suspect that it was done not to let Russia's Sergey Lazarev win the contest, Politonline reports.

It goes without saying that Jamala will become another "Ukrainian hero, a symbol of Ukraine's struggle with Russia, an ardent Ukrainian patriot. The Ukrainian administration will put the singer on the list of those people, who managed to hurt Russia. At the same time, it is difficult to conceal information nowadays. Particularly, it has transpired that the "new Ukrainian hero" was entertaining "the hated Russians" at corporate parties in Sochi in 2015, six months after the return of the Crimea to Russia, in the midst of the infamous "anti-terrorist operation" in eastern Ukraine, when the Ukrainian media and society was choking on their hatred of Russia. Yet, Jamala was singing and dancing at a party, entertaining those, whom her native country labeled as "enemies," and there are many photos from the party to prove that.

The political background of Jamala's performance was obvious, although the singer herself claimed that she was singing about her own feelings and experiences.

Interestingly, Western publications, who openly supported Ukraine at Eurovision 2016, did not hide the political context of Jamala's performance. The Guardian, for example, has published several materials dedicated to the Ukrainian singer. Each of them emphasizes the political aspect of the song. For example, one of the articles was published under the following headline: "Eurovision 2016: Ukraine's Jamala wins with politically charged 1944." The subtitle to the article said: "Singer Jamala calls for 'peace and love' after beating rivals with ballad about deportation of Crimean Tatars, seen as criticism of Russia's actions in 2014."

During a prank call, Jamala acknowledged: "[If I had called it 2014], it would not have made it to Eurovision, as it would have been seen as a political act. This is not an arena for political slogans. Of course, it is there, undoubtedly, but we know it in secret. When I say it out loud, they will remove the song," the singer said.

Even before the first semi-final of the contest, there were calls made to stop the politicization of the music festival and disqualify Jamala for her song. However, the calls were ignored, because in the opinion of the organizers of the contest, the song "did not contain direct references to the current events," The New York Times wrote.

Journalists with German publication Die Welt marveled at the fact that the winning song of Eurovision 2016 should not have been accepted for the competition. It is obvious that Ukraine sought to "hit" Russia by making references to the Crimea, but it was quite a doubtful try. Viewers gave the majority to Sergei Lazarev of Russia, the publication said.

According to the BBC, despite the fact that Jamala demonstrated her vocal abilities and impressive visual effects that accompanied her performance, the Ukrainian singer won Eurovision 2016 solely because of the political subtext, rather than music.

The new voting rules of the European festival that introduced international jury triggered a lot of discussion as well. The innovation, the principles of which remain unknown, violates the atmosphere of the competition and makes results doubtful.

As The Telegraph wrote, if the verdict of the jury is so much different from the views of the audience, then who actually chooses the best song at Eurovision?

"The discrepancy between the opinions of the audience and the judges is too obvious, - Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachtichten newspaper said. - After all, if it had been for the viewers to determine the winner as during the previous years, Russia would have won the competition." However, the jury voted for Sergey Lazarev's song for reasons that remain unknown to all," the publication also said.

To sum up this little review of the Western coverage of Eurovision 2016, one may say that the principle "just politics, nothing personal" dominated at this year's Eurovision in Stockholm. It does not matter what most European people think - it is the votes of "the right people from the jury" that count. Eurovision is no longer a musical show - it is part of politics.

[Source: Pravda, Moscow, 16May16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 19May16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.