Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Mr. Lava Reports - Loving Belarus
Evidence suggests that Belarus invented a face-saving story to spin the reason for why their original Eurovision Song Contest 2011 submission, “Born in Byelorussia,” had to be scuttled.
Belarusian singer Anastasiya Vinnikova takes the stage Thursday night at Eurovision Semi-Final Two singing “I Love Belarus,” and it will likely be your only chance to see this gawk-worthy disaster in the making, since the song hasn’t a prayer of advancing to the final (though voting it through might be a worthwhile prank).
Belarus’s original Eurovision 2011 song offering was called “Born In Byelorussia,” a celebration of life in the good old days of communism—which for Belarus continue! The lyrics to that earlier effort included: "Born in Byelorussia! USSR time! Byelorussia! Crazy and so fine!"
Sensing controversy, something image-hypersensitive Eurovision does not want any of, on 3 March 2011 the event organizers pressed for a lyric change, tactfully noting in a press release that “questions and doubts have come up regarding the lyrics of the Belarusian entry,” and further explaining that
“The song quoted memories from Soviet Union times as well as the historical name of Byelorussia, which is not officially used anymore these days.”
But a different story is told in a video posted to YouTube on the following day, 4 March 2011. The channel, which says it originates from Russia, with an associated website that includes specialized looks at Belarus's and Russia's Eurovision history, reports that the song was performed before last year’s cut-off date, and was therefore disqualified for non-political reasons.
Either way, the result was a complete overhaul for the song, which brings us to “I Love Belarus.”
Can you think of one good reason not to love Belarus? Except the police brutality, mysterious “suicides” of investigative journalists, and the arresting of opposition leaders? Well, I could think of several. Like how President Lukashenko, elected in 1994, now appears to be their president for life. And how the government announced plans to ship jailed opposition leaders’ kids to orphanages. Or the nagging suspicion that the president himself was behind a recent subway bombing (the government is trying to pin the blame on, once again, those mysterious, omnipresent “opposition figures").
But who cares what reasons I might have for not loving Belarus? I'm just a fake Eurotrash DJ! Let’s take an objective survey of today’s newspaper headlines instead:
The Wall Street Journal: “Russia Refuses to Bail Out Belarus”
Reuters: “Russia refuses to bail out wayward ally Belarus”
AFT: “Belarus opposition journalist goes to trial”
Monsters and Critics: “EU lawmakers call for a suspension of Belarus hockey championship”
Index on Censorship: “Five former presidential candidates now on trial in Belarus”
New York Times: “Belarus Currency Plunges After Rule Change”
But perhaps today was just a bad day. Or maybe everything you’ve just read is suspect, because…
Kyiv Post: “Lukashenko: Information war unleashed against Belarus.”
See? I’m just part of the conspiracy!