Sweden/Belarus – The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, Loreen, has caused some stir in her home country Sweden, when was made public that she will perform at a festival in Belarus, which will be opened by notorious dictator Alexander Lukashenko. At this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Loreen had not only been praised for her performance on stage but also for the fact that she was the only competing artist to meet the Azeri opposition.
This created a small diplomatic crisis between Sweden and Azerbaijan. The Azeri government summoned the Swedish ambassador to tell him that Loreen was not supposed to be political. During her winner’s press conference Loreen also said that her dance moves were supposed to symbolize “freedom”. However, now the Swedish press and several public figures criticize Loreen’s decision to perform in Belarus.
She will be one of the headliners of the art festival Slavianski Bazaarheld inVitebsk, which will also feature former
Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak of Belarussian origins and this year’s Russian Eurovision entrants, the Buranovskiye Babushki. The festival has some dubious connections to Lukaschenko’s government, which is often called the last dictatorship in Europe. The authoritarian president will also open the festival and most likely be present for the performances.
Amnesty International in Sweden voiced their concern that Loreen may be exploited for political propganda. “If Loreen takes a stand and comments on the human rights situation, then something positive can come out of the visit. If she doesn’t make her views known, then she risks becoming part of some PR stunt for the president. Artists should always bear in mind that they can be exploited by a surpressive regime,” said AI’s press secretary Elisabeth Löfgren.
Loreen’s manager told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet: “Loreen is acutely aware of the situation in Belarus, and she is unchanged in her views on human rights and democracy. She won’t be making any statement whilst in Belarus but will however be commenting on the matter when she returns to Sweden.”
What do you think? Should Loreen cancel her appereance at the festival?
Sources= aftonbladet.se, eurovisionary.com
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