Time to get political: Guri takes Jon Ola Sand up on EBU’s balderdash

So, did you hear that joke about Eurovision not being political at all? Probably, as it is told regularly by the EBU across Europe. Guri decided to call them up on that, as clearly it is all balderdash. Her comments are printed in Norway’s largest newspaper Aftenposten today along with an interview with her and Jon Ola Sand, written by our favorite journalist Arve Henriksen.

Sadly it is only in Norwegian, but here’s a version in English for you of what is brewing up to be a bitch fight (we hope):

Guri tells the following stories from this year’s favorites to win:

  • Ukrainian Jamala‘s song about Crimean Tatars, which officially is about an episode in 1944, but Crimea being annexed by Russia, it bears a lot of meaning today and Guri figures Putin will send his SMS votes somewhere else. But go Jamala.
  • France’s Amir, who got a petition against him, saying France shouldn’t let a former Israeli soldier participate for France (because he was in the military, like everyone who grows up in Israel and a bunch of other countries). Guri thinks it is impossible to find an artist that all of France’s diverse population of 66 million feel represent exactly them.
  • Russia’s Sergey, who regularly gets the full responsibility for Russia’s anti-gay laws, but who is a large gay favorite who has played several gay bars in Russia. Guri says it is probably not easier to be gay in countries like Azerbaijan, Belarus and Poland and reminds you the stage in Globen would be pretty empty if countries should be boycotted for political reasons

Then Guri talks about the EBU’s flag rules, which she also think is balderdash. It is certainly political and completely unnecessary to prohibit certain countries’ ability to express their identity while their oppressors keep swaggering around on stage like nothing ever happened.

Guri also quotes Amir in that he just wants to sing and asks a few questions over whether artists should be responsible for their countries’ actions. Is Michal Szpak responsible for the fact that Poland is trying to criminalize all women who have abortions, for instance? Hardly. Culture always has the ability to move people beyond the here and now, but in Eurovision you don’t just represent yourself, you represent your country and that complicates it.

Guri’s conclusion is that the EBU should worry a little bit less about laying restrictions on it’s participating countries and a little bit more about artists and audiences freedom of speech and expression. Who are the EBU to decide what is political correct anyway?

Jon Ola Sand thinks everything Guri says is all a complete miss, of course. He says none of the participating countries want to make any political message whatsoever and that they just want to be friends and party. Two hours later this happened in the semi final:

The flag of Nagaorno-Karabakh. With love from Armenia’s artist to Azerbaijan and over 100 million viewers. All for the sake of pure entertainment, of course. Those countries are the best of friends these days.

We wish Jon Ola Sand good luck with that.

Nothing is ever apolitical, but that doesn’t mean politics are dangerous. They are in fact what makes us drive the world forward together. The opposite claim is all balderdash, which quickly became our new favorite English word, really. We’ll say it every time someone tries to tell us gathering all of Europe under one roof and telling them to express themselves is nowhere near politics.

We believe more in music and its message than that, mister Sand. And we love Eurovision for it!

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