Steve reminded me the other day of an issue I'd first worried about months ago and promptly forgot. Eurovision is being held in Moscow on the same day as the, ever controversial, Moscow Pride.
Russian Nationalists and Russian's Orthodox brand of woowoo are certainly not planning on letting Pride pass peacefully. The Mayor of Moscow has made clear his position before. He thinks it's a "satanic" parade, and one that is thus banned in Moscow.
So we face the prospect of people being injured and attacked just for their sexuality, mere moments before the Eurovision final which will be the centre of focus of people across the world.
Given the corruption and backwardness of the Russian security forces these days, and the fact this parade is going on against the Mayor's wishes, attendees can expect no protection from the violence that has characterised this parade in the past.
But that will not stop it. When has violence against homosexuals ever stopped the onwards movement of our equal rights? You may throw stones. You may kill us. But it only makes us more determined to fight for our right to exist as we wish. Peter Tatchell obviously puts the case more eloquently and forcefully here. Good luck to him and all who attend.
So will this affect Eurovision? Probably not. Eurovision organisers are notoriously blind to political matters (which perhaps is a good stance for a music contest!!).
A question was asked about the Dutch parliament discussing eventual withdrawal from the contest if the Russian officials would use violence to stop the planned gay pride parade in Moscow on Saturday. This was addressed by Mr. Stockselius by stating that the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political TV entertainment show and while politicians could discuss issues like withdrawal it was still always down to the broadcasters to decide. He said the Eurovision Song Contest rules stated that if a country would not rehearse or perform according to a planned schedule it could be sanctioned by a fine and up to a three years’ ban. He also said that every year some countries threaten to withdraw but none have so far. Esctoday
The Toppers, the Netherlands entry, have vowed that, should they make the final, they will boycott it if violence is used against gay protesters.
"If people of my kind are being discriminated against in such a way, I have nothing to expect from this Russia, and I will be on the first plane home."
Is Russia really willing to let something like that occur? Imagine every Eurovision commentator noting the absence, and reason for such, live on air during the performances. Is Russia prepared to help ruin it's hosting of Eurovision? Hmm... Moscow, the eyes of Europe are watching...
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