Eurovision song contest harms Azeris

I like sports. I like songs.

However, if a big sports event, like the London Olympic games; or a big singing event, like the Eurovision song contest in Baku, Azerbaijan, gets intertwined with polluting corporations, militarism, etc., then I don’t like that.

Shirin Baji Rzayeva in the ruins of her home in Baku, photo: Mitra Nazar

Translated from Dutch daily Metro today:

Song contest a curse for Baku

Residents of song contest city in Azerbaijan driven out of their homes for music festival.

“It was like a bomb exploded.” The Azeri Shirin Baji Rzayeva (58) had some experiences in her life. Soviet tanks in the streets of Baku and later the Karabakh war with Armenia. But when two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, a bulldozer destroyed the roof of her home, she was terrified.

Her whole street is now a ruin. Everywhere there are concrete blocks, loose stones and pieces of wood. The roof of the old apartment is a gaping hole. The sun shines directly on the kitchen table inside. “I hope that visitors of the Eurovision Song Contest will also see this. Our president treats people like animals,” says Rzayeva with a distorted face.

After winning the Eurovision Song Contest, the controversial president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev rapidly increased construction. … Millions are spent on expensive hotels, marble walls and brand new office buildings with shiny windows. The world’s tallest building is under construction and currently they are finishing building the extremely elitist Crystal Hall, where the contest will take place in late May.

Last month, 280 families were driven from their apartments for a new boulevard near the Crystal Hall. Then, it was the turn of the whole Shamsi Badalbayli street where Rzayeva had lived for decades with her family.

Azerbaijan: How President’s Daughters Ended Up Owning Mega-Million Dollars Holding Company: here.

Eurovision 2012: Azerbaijan’s gays not welcome at home: here.

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