Tag Archives: Denmark

A happy ending for Eurovision?

by Rhodri C. Williams

I promise that this will be my last ever word on the Eurovision song contest. There are any number of good reasons for me to move on, not least the fact that Eurovision seems to move me to rant, which is honestly not my strongest genre. However, the best possible reason was handed to me on a plate by fresh-faced Emmelie de Forrest, who took all the honors and moved them conveniently from one peaceful Nordic democracy to another one a forty minute commute away.

And there were moments, as Azerbaijan nudged within a few ‘dix points’ of Emmelie’s comely heels, where I saw an alternative, dystopic future – a future in which I would once again be compelled to wander the darkened streets of the blogosphere, bitterly denouncing the capricious demolitions of homes in Baku, casting aspersions upon the political naifs of the European Broadcasting Union, and railing against the hypocrisy of ostensible guardians of democracy such as the Council of Europe, long since tamed by a steady diet of inflated per diems and caviar. Thank you, Emmelie, for sparing us all that.

But before I bow out of the debate about Eurovision and human rights fully, a few observations. First, despite the welcome contrast between Azerbaijan’s structural aversion to human rights (universality notwithstanding, how is one honestly to go about applying them in a dynastic autocracy fueled by oil patronage?) and Sweden’s imperfect but earnest efforts, the human rights did emerge once again as a background issue in this year’s contest.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Week in Links – Week 33/2011: Ethnic engineering in Osh, privatization in Havana

I should begin by noting that my NRC report on urban displacement in Liberia has now been published in the Journal of Internal Displacement, vol. 1, no. 2. Other articles in the same edition cover the plight of the Sahrawi people in Morocco and provide an assessment of development-induced displacement in the Narmada Valley in India.

A bit of follow-up in the meantime on some stories TN has been following:

– First, the latest Economist (Aug. 13) gives some insights into just how bad things have gotten for the Uzbek minority in southern Kyrgyzstan since the appalling violence last summer that killed hundreds. According to the article (“Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbeks: Weak fences, bad neighbours”), all signs of moderation are now gone.

At the national level, Kyrgyz nationalism is “surging” in advance of October’s presidential elections and the head of the International Commission of Inquiry that found evidence of crimes against humanity undertaken during the pogrom (see TN post here) has been PNG’ed by Parliament.

However, events in Osh, the epicenter of last summer’s violence, are most disturbing. As discussed previously in TN, the Kyrgyz major still appears to have no qualms about using an antiquated master plan as the device for cleansing Uzbek survivors of the violence from their homes and communities in the center of the city: Continue reading