With even the New York Times noting it's widespread appeal this morning (click here
tonight's Eurovision Song Contest 2012 will provide viewers around the world (some 125 million of them) more of a continuing, and hopeful trend. It will not only offer flamboyant relief from bad economic news, discontent over state repression, and racialist rumblings among immigrant rich countries, it will showcase a visionary mixed race selection belying the ostensible Euro-resistance to multiculturalism.
In 2010, when Angela Merkel dismissed the efforts at "multikulti," as having "utterly failed," she touched off a firestorm of indignation and liberal hand-wringing at having said openly what many Germans, and other Europeans, have long felt. Yet "Europe" (and being "European") itself is, and despite all claims to the contrary, always has been, a rather flexible concept.
The very fact that Shia Muslim Azerbaijan is included in a "European" contest is indication enough of the growing flexibility in definition, and an obvious statement that more and more countries want "in" on Europe, whatever that now means. (It used to be equated with "Christendom.") But culturally "Europe," as we all know, means many things to many different peoples. Jewish Israel, is part of the Eurovision "Europe," yet so is Sunni Muslim Turkey. (Turkey, part of "Asia Minor" when I was growing up, won in 2003.) Ukraine is in there and Cyprus and Malta (two island nations in the Mediterranean), as well Iceland, so geography is stretched too.
The entertainers in the Eurovision contest have increasingly included this blending of cultures. When Norway won a few years back, it's winning entry was the terminally catchy "Fairytale," sung by the terminally cute Alexader Rybak, from Belarus.
This year's entries are a splendid example of this kind of this continuing cultural intermingling: Ukraine sending a half-Congolese woman, France an Indonesian Muslim woman, the UK with a 76 year old half-Indian man, Norway an Iranian man, and Sweden a Moroccan-Berber woman, (all big favorites, too). One can be forgiven for assuming that, while the true musical corruption has long been decried in Eurovision's yearly fests, in front, right out there on the stage, is the present future--a truly "multi-kulti" Europe.
So I'll admit to the political machinations which are resulting in repressive measures in order to produce this spectacle. And I'll share whatever reports and images come my way to others concerned about human rights abuses wherever they occur, as well as critique the wasteful extravagance used to promote this show in times of economic adversity. But my children (Puertorican-Icelandic) and I will also enthusiastically watch, with popcorn on our laps and joy on our faces, this crazy musical spectacle, and root for the home team (and Iceland has a strong possibility too this year with a violin-playing, weightlifter singer-songwriter woman leading).
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Rev. JOSĂ‰ M. TIRADO is a poet, priest and writer finishing a PhD in psychology while living in Iceland.
Jose' M. Tirado is a Puertorican poet, and writer living in HafnarfjorĂdegreesur, Iceland, known for its elves, "hidden people" and lava fields. His articles and poetry have been featured in CounterPunch, Cyrano -s Journal, The Galway Review, (more...