Sunday, 21 February 2010
Armenia's Apricot Army
Case in point is this year's Armenian entry, Apricot Stone by Eva Rivas. On the outset it sounds like nothing more sinister than a nostalgic ditty about the old days, the pretagonist's mother telling her how good life would be once she'd grown up - kind of like Ke Sera Sera with a skipbeat. But a little bit of delving will uncover all manner of mischief making.
For a start, take a look at that Armenian flag up in the top right corner. See the orange band at the bottom? That's not orange, that's apricot. The colour on the flag relates to the fruit considered to be the symbol of Armenian nationality. This thing goes back centuries, with Armenian generals going into war carrying banners and effigies made in the colour of the fruit, and the country's favourite folk instrument, the duduk (the very instrument that Eva's song begins with) is made from the wood of the tree. So perhaps the song is a call out to the diaspora of up to six million Armenians scattered around the globe in order to garner a few teary-eyed votes?
Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian enclave within the borders of Azerbaijan. These two very different nations have been niggling about this neighbourhood ever since the Russians poked their noses 90 odd years back - but would they extend their beef to something as seemingly innocent as Eurovision? You better believe it, because these two have form.
Last year the Armenians had their singer from the previous year, Shirusho, read out their scores. But look carefully and you'll notice that both on the backdrop and on the back of the very clipboard that she kept cheekily flashing at the camera was a picture of the Tatik yev Papik momument in Nagorno-Karabakh - a symbol of Armenian nationality in that area.
Following that, it was reported that 43 Azeri residents were questioned by their Ministry of Security after it was found that they had made the very unpatriotic move of voting for Armenia in the 2009 competition in Moscow.
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