J. K. O’Connor: “Azerbaijan will present a smiley happy face to the world while the reality is quite different”

Armenia has withdrawn from the 2012 Eurovision contest, which takes place in May in Azerbaijan, because the two countries fought a bloody war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in the 1990s, which left at least 25,000 people dead”. BBC news agency has written those words in the article named “Why has Armenia left the Eurovision”?

BBC correspondent John Humphrys held an interview with the author of The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History, John Kennedy O’Connor. Mr. O’Connor told that this has only happened once before – when Austria refused to take part in the Madrid contest in 1969 “staged under the Franco fascist regime”.

He said that there has been “a lot of animosity” between the two countries which has recently been reignited over land.

In the audio version of the program the speaker spoke about the tensed relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and referred to Nagorno Karabakh issue. To show the real situation in Azerbaijan concerning Armenia and Armenians he reminded that some Azerbaijanis who had voted for Armenia in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 (taking place in Russia) had their phone records “examined by secret police” and received a night-time visit from them.

Mr. O’Connor says that many international human rights protection organizations told that Azerbaijan is not ready for this contest as the human rights situation is in terrible situation now. As Amnesty International and other organizations underlined many people have lost their properties, their homes as the arena should be built on those territories. According to the speaker also there are some people who want to come to see with their own eyes the situation of media freedom and human rights protection in this state.

 They will be “presenting a smiley happy face to the world while the reality is quite different”, he said.

Note that many countries, especially Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic are strongly condemn the decision to hold Eurovision 2012 in Azerbaijan. Many publications by the media representatives tell that Azerbaijan is unable to host Eurovision 2012. German TV channel shot a video program at Baku and showed that people have really lost their homes only becaue the arena for the contest will be built. The reporters were even endangered while recording the program.

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