Eurovision – Government Hooliganism

by Einar Du Rietz

Photo EBU

The peculiar, but by now a sort of fancy kitsch, the Eurovisioncontest, is on again. This time in Baku, the not so democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. (Use the link to check out some of the songs. Montenegro has some, well interesting, lyrics.)

This has raised some concern over the possible PR, the, no doubt nasty regime, might get. As the same discussion is going on concerning soccer, let me say that I’m generally reluctant to boycotts, and specifically those carried out by government. Boycotting private companies, as was the case with the hysteria over French wines and nukes some years ago, is both stupid and insulting. And even not boycotting governmental monopolies might be a good idea. If I got clearance, naturally out of the question, to operate freely as a journalist in North Chorea, it would be more than stupid to refuse to use whatever electricity, phone services or lodging there is, on the ground that it’s run by a communist regime. Hey, everything is. If it’s running at all, that is.

Sometimes, you tend to think twice though. Not about if boycotts are effective, but if they might be justified. To clear way for the Eurovision, the government quite frankly confiscated peoples’ houses, to clear the way for the stage. In this case, with a short notice, the owners were compensated with 50 percent of the “market value“. How you calculate such in expropriation I’ve never understood. The same goes for the worst environmental crimes, regardless of energy source, committed not by energy companies on a free market, but by energy companies working in collusion with the government.

The damage is done. Sadly enough. So not going would probably just make things worse. Try to spread some fresh ideas while there instead! On the other hand, at least one of the finalists had some difficulties in grasping the possible dilemma. Because Baku is in the Caribbeans, is it not?

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.