Until I watched Panorama: Eurovision’s Dirty Secret, an excellent piece of investigative journalism by the BBC, last night, I was quite ignorant of the plight of the Azeri people, especially those who speak out against the corrupt government. Journalist Paul Kenyon interviewed several protesters who were horrifically treated and have had to seek exile in order to avoid even worse torture. Despite legalising homosexuality in 2001, same sex unions are still not recognised, and many Azeri people feel uncomfortable being openly gay due to the threat of persecution. Several European countries have officially boycotted the event: Armenia, a long time foe of the neighbouring Azerbaijan, has pulled out altogether, as has Poland. So why am I still watching?
Until I came out as gay two years ago, I never admitted to enjoying watching the song contest, as doing so would have most likely automatically outed me. I watch for several reasons:
- guessing to whom each country will give twelve points/douze points and no points/nul points;
- to laugh at the ridiculous costumes;
- to make derisive tweets about the representatives each country chooses to give the vote results;
- to laugh at Graham Norton’s comments on said representatives;
- to root Turkey and the UK on;
- and to have something to talk about for the next few weeks because even if you’re European and don’t watch it, you know someone who does and most likely have an opinion on it anyway.
Comments welcome as usual. Tell me, will you be watching this year?