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Eurovision Winner Azerbaijan Hopefully Forgets About War in Karabakh

Armen Hareyan's picture

Azerbaijan is the winner of the Eurovision 2011 song contest and it is hoped that it will get busy starting to prepare for the 2012 Eurovision instead of making bellicose statements about Karabakh and Armenia.

It was a big surprise and even became sensation that Azerbaijan became the winner of the 2011 Eurovision. Europe finished voting about four hours ago and crowned Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal (Ell / Nikki) with the song "Running Scared" from Azerbaijan as this year's winner. The second and third places were shared by Italy and Sweden respectively. Azerbaijan received 221 points, Italy's Raphael Gualazzi with "Madness Of Love" receive 189 points and Sweden's Eric Saade with "Popular" received 185 points.

What will this victory mean for Azerbaijan and the region in South Caucasus in general?

Azerbaijan is neighboring Iran and located in a volatile region torn by ethnic conflicts and human rights violations. Baku has been criticized by the European Union for worsening human rights in Azerbaijan and for jailing opposition activists and bloggers. Azerbaijan's negotiations with Armenia are not going anywhere as the Azeri authorities refuse to negotiate directly with Nagorno Karabakh, a de facto independent state yearning for the recognition of its right to self-determination. Instead, the president of Azerbaijan has been using every occasion to publicly threaten Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh with bellicose statements and resumption of war if the negotiations don't bring his desired results.

Now, all of the sudden a victory in Eurovision 2011. For a small country, still integrating in the international community after the breakup of the Soviet Union, this victory is like is such a recognition that equals to hosting Olympic Games. In fact, Azerbaijan next year in 2012 will be hosting Eurovision 2012 song festival per Eurovision's rules. The winner country gets to host the following year's festival.

Hosting Eurovision is is like a dream for a country to get attention, tourism and boost its economy. According to Wikipedia Eurovision is one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world,[2] with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally. Host countries try to capitalize on the program and like in the case of Finland, it is common to see the presentation interspersed with video footage of touristic destinations from the host country as if advertising for tourism. "The contest is considered to be a unique opportunity for promoting the host country as a tourist destination. In the summer of 2005, Ukraine abolished its normal visa requirement for visitors from the EU to coincide with its hosting of the event," reads the public encyclopedia.

Surely, Azerbaijan needs to and will want to capitalize on the economic and touristic opportunity afforded by hosting Eurovision 2012. It's a matter of national pride and they will want to do the best they can to host the contest at the highest level with guaranteed security.

Yet, the security will be of concern. Human rights are worsening in Azerbaijan. Last month there were few attempts to stage democracy demonstrations in the capital Baku, which were crashed and opposition activists jailed. The president and the leadership of Azerbaijan threaten to resume war against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh if the negotiations do not reach an agreement on the final status of Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev in many occasion boasted that the defense spending of Azerbaijan equals Armenia's entire state budget, hoping it gives his country the upper hand over Karabakh negotiations. Also his governing party says the opposition has been trying to stir up confrontation, which could damage the country.

Still, winning Eurovision is a great opportunity for Azerbaijan to focus on the positive. Because hosting a Eurovision contest is such a big honor and significant event, the government should ease the political repression within the country and forget about resuming war against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Instead of increasing its defense spending, the government is better to well prepare for the 2012 contest. Hopefully by then it will relieve itself from the poison of anti-Armenian hatred by focusing on the positive.

It is hoped that at least for one year there won't be any bellicose statement about resolving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict through military means. Hopefully during the process of focusing on Eurovision and the European values Azerbaijan will realize that the European values of the 21st century require to respect the self-determination right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh. Hopefully there will be a good and substantial progress toward peace agreement between Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia before hosting Eurovision 2012 so that no Armenian delegate has second thoughts if he or she should participate in Baku and no Eurovision official think twice if they need to relocate the destination of the 2012 contest because of human rights and security reasons.

Congratulations to Azerbaijan and its people. This victory is good for this country. This victory is good for peace in South Caucasus.


Submitted by Vafadar (not verified) on
How can Azerbaijan forget Nagorno Karabakh problem as over one million azerbaijanians are refugees from their motherland.?? Nagorno Karabakh has never been an independent state (even just a state) as neither Azerbaijan nor another country accept it de-facto... so why Azerbaijan has to negotiate with such a fake "state"??.. In some points you are right as this victory is a great opportunity for both Azerbaijan and neighbor countries.. Congratulations Azerbaijan, we are waiting for victory from Karabakh soon

Submitted by stradivarius (not verified) on
I'm sorry but why doesn't any Azeri ever mention anything about the Armenian lands overtaken by Turks and milloions of Armenians killed? why does no one of Azeris talk about half of Cyprus invaded by Turkey and all Greek and Armenian refugees all over the world because of Turkish and Azeri wars and barbarian attitude. does it seem to difficult to digest that Armenians want to protect their lands and are actually SUCCEEDING this time? If you are talking about fairness, you still have a lot to pay to get to it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
your funny little fella...go on youtube...and search....azeri soldiers crying in karabag....thats the only victory for you turks..hahahahahahahahahaahaha

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Azerbaijani territories are invaded by Armenians since 1993. Not only Karabakh but also 7 other regions (which are bigger than Karabakh) are still under invasion. Azerbaijanis welcome living with Armenians as in Soviet union but still Armenians refuse all kind of peace resolutions. More than 1 million Azerbaijanis are still refugees from their homeland... About the self determination: Self determination is welcomed if you do not have your own country and live under repression of others. As we know there is a beautiful country named Armenia with its flag and anthem. So why you need to invade other's region for the policy of Russian Empire to control all the former Soviet union countries. SO PLEASE have a search before you write NEWS... Thanks Have a wonderful weekend...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
...Azeris. We won that war fair and square after Azerbaijan, in its typical supremacist fashion, attempted to crush the native peoples of Nagorno-Karabakh into submission. Why would they ever want to return? So that they can see their history erased and/or corrupted? So that they can live with that despotic, nepotistic, kleptomaniacal dictator who rules Azerbaijan? Fact: you won't win another war - we have the terrain advantage and far more motivated soldiers. We don't want war though - only Azerbaijan does. King Aliyev makes that very clear on a regular basis. #2 claims that Armenians refuse all kinds of peace resolutions - what baloney. Aliyev threatening war isn't 'peaceful.' Also, one other thing: there are a total of one million refugees - both Armenians and Azeris. Just thought I'd refute that ludicrous piece of misinformation.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
U dont need to use some otic, istic words to show yourself smarter. I got some questions: 1) Where was the first Armenian country established? 2) What about 7 other regions beside Karabakh? 3) Where were you when Karabakh were under Azerbaijani control till 1993??? 4) Why Russia now defends you??? 5) Why there are less than 200.000 people in Karabakh while more than 1 mln Azeris live in far from their lands???

Submitted by Artak (not verified) on
Hello, I am a different person and not the original Armenian who commented above, but I will answer to some of your questions. While making a historical disrouce is above the scope of this discussion I will write the following. 7 regions. Why do you guys keep talking about the 7 regions but forgetting that Azerbaijan waged war on Nagorno Karabakh and bombed civilian targets from those seven regions? If you talk about seven regions why don't you talk about what happened in Sumgait and in Baku. You talk about Azeri refugees but don't even say a word about the hundreds of thousands of Azeri refugees. Thus, I am not sure if you are fair in your assessment of the situation. But I propose to turn this conversation to a positive direction. Listen, I am sincerely glad that my neighbor country is the winner of Eurovision and despite our innocent soldiers being killed (on both sides) on the frontline I am happy for you that you will host Eurovision next year and it will come to South Caucasus. Have you ever thought that for Europeans and Americans we are basically the same dark people and they probably don't even care if we are Christians and you are Muslim? My point is I agree with the author of this story. Let's get a peace agreement and move on with this. Don't poison yourself by hating Armenians. We don't hate you. No matter where and what happened I have the courage to say that if things are wrong they are wrong. Whether these are Azeri and Armenian refugees or the innocent 1.5 million Armenians killed by Turks. I share the pain of Azeri refugees because they are just humans like me. Do you have the courage to share the tragedy and the pain of 1.5 million Armenians killed by Turks because they were humans like you and me? Educated people with fair judgment should stand above conflicts, solve them and bring peace to their people not to take parts and fire hatred.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I really would like to live in a peaceful caucasus, and back up each other as in 30 yrs ago. I do not want to kill and to be killed for the policies of other Empires. I want to have a best peaceful solution for Karabakh... I want to Turn back of all refugees including Armenians from Sumgait and Baku & Azerbaijanis from Karabakh and Armenia... I am sure that a day will come and we will solve the Karabakh problem.. But firstly we need to be Democratic and free country despite of being under Control of Russia and Western Countries... Believe me today Sarkisyan and Aliyev are under the control of the same DEVIL REGIME...

Submitted by Artak (not verified) on
I am not sure about Sarkisyan and Aliyev, but I really liked your comment about wanting to live in peace with one another, not to kill and not to be killed and backking each other. At the end of the day we are all human beings. We love and want to be loved. I don't want any parent, Armenian or Azeri, to suffer when their children are killed on the front-line. I repeat the words of the Armenian president Sarkisyan, which I read on this website. If Azerbaijan respects Karabakh's right to self-determination other issues can be solved in a matter of hours. Scotland now wants to conduct a referendum and UK says it will not prevent Scotish desire for independence. If Karabakh wants to live independent let it live independently, we can still be friends and benefit from one anther's human richness and values. This generation of Armeniana and Azeri people have suffered a lot. Many mothers and fathers saw their children killed. Let's not prolong this issue. What is it to you and to me when we die and the Karabakh issue is still not solved. Our children will suffer because of it and another dictator may send to to fight against one another. Let's preach peace among each other and tolerance. Other issues will be solved in a matter of hours.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Artak. I agree with your all statements... But only about Scottish... Scottish people do not have an independent country named SCOTLAND.. As we know they are under control of UK.... And most of the Scottish hate English as we know... I really praise their wish to be INDEPENDENT... BUT..... What about Armenians in Karabakh? There is a country named Armenia with its all national attributes. What I want is: All Armenians in Karabakh are welcomed to have the same and equal rights as Azerbaijanis. But if they want to be Independent in some more years later... At that time believe me.. I will defend their rights... BUT now Armenia occupied Azerbaijani territories and forced hundreds of thousands Azerbaijanis to live in old trains, and tents under snow and rain... BELIEVE ME.. TODAY you can find hundreds of thousands people live in former Schools, train wagons, former farms and etc... This is not JUSTICE... if we talk about humanity... PLEASE lets us listen our heart not be chauvinist.... anyway my twitter id is: @DemocracyinAZE lets follow each other for the better future in Caucasus...


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