Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eurovision and Moscow Pride

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.

Peter Tatchell at Moscow Pride 2007

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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  1. I thought about writing about this too, but decided to leave it until I see how the 'Russkies' deal with Pride this year; it's certainly one to watch, though, and if there is any violence against Pride demonstrators I hope that others besides the Netherlands will react appropriately by boycotting the event - or perhaps even better by flourishing rainbow flags during their performances. I doubt if even the Russians would hustle people off the stage during a live broadcast being watched all over Europe and in many other countries around the world besides. Maybe you're right in doing a pre-emptive post.

    Let's hope none of this will be necessary. I don't care for Peter Tatchell, but readily recognise it needs someone 'bolshie' like him to tell some home truths, which he has done at great personal risk over the years so I respect him - at the same time I hope he doesn't simply provoke the Russians into reacting by being there.

  2. I wonder what will happen this Saturday, but I assume things will go pretty bad. I do not see myself spending my 'pink euros' in Moscow anytime soon.