Armenia and Azerbaijan: Nagorno-Karabakh Controversy At Eurovision

We Are Our MountainsWiwi was probably the last person on Earth to hear that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reared its ugly head at Eurovision. For those of you who don’t know, Nagorno-Karabakh is a breakaway region in the South Caucuses that Armenia and Azerbaijan have been fighting over for, like, a hundred years. When the Soviet Union took control in 1923, it made Nagorno-Karabakh a part of Azerbaijan (despite the fact the region’s primary language is Armenian). When the USSR fell apart in 1991, Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed fighting over the territory—and Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence, which no country or international organization has recognized.

“We Are Our Mountains,” the statue above, depicts the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and is located amid Nagorno-Karabakh’s best farmland. It was built during the Soviet era to celebrate the region’s Armenian heritage (even if it’s technically in Azerbaijan). On May 14, during the first Eurovision Semi-Final, an image of the monument appeared in the ‘postcard’ montage that preceded Armenia’s performance. You can see it below at 0:17, in the top right corner.

Azerbaijani officials complained to the European Broadcasting Union, noting that the Nagorno-Karabakh monument is in Azerbaijan. The EBU conceeded, and edited the statue out of the Armenian postcard for the May 16 final.

When the Armenians got wind of that change, they were all like, “Oh no you didn’t, Azerbaijan!” So as Sirusho—Armenia’s 2008 Eurovision contestent—read out the results of Armenian voting, she repeatedly flashed a clipboard containing an image of “We Are Our Mountains.” And she was standing before another image of the statue. (Subtlety isn’t one of her qualities, but Wiwi gathered as much from her hip-shaking performance last year). See video below:

Can’t we all just get along? Wiwi seriously wishes broadcasters would leave politics out of Eurovision and focus on all the glitter and skanky outfits and catchy europop instead. Luckily, it seems like Armenian jury members and tele-voters did just that: Armenia gave Azerbaijan one point.

What do you guys think? Did Azerbaijan have a right to complain? Should Sirusho have flashed the image of “We Are Our Mountains”? Comment below and be sure to vote in Wiwi’s poll.

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