Jamala – 1944 (Ukraine) 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

Jamala wins the contest with a song about 1944

The message of the song is widely discussed. In 1944 Jamala’s great-grandmother and all members of the Tartars were deported from their home land, based on Stalin’s orders. During the transportation five of her great grandmother’s children died.

Only after the Soviet Union dissolved was the Tartar family able to return to Krim. Jamala claimed repeatedly that the song is entirely a personal story about her family. She was born in 1983 in Kyrgyzstan and returned with her family to her homeland Krim, before studying music in Kiev.

Her song caused quite an uproar as Eurovision’s guidelines expressly forbid political content in songs. Since 2014 the student Jamala has not been able to return to Krim to visit her family. Thus the song is a most personal story. Personal stories are allow and encouraged.

She won the 61st Eurovision Song Contest 2016 despite calls for disallowing the song since it angered Russians. PRI reported that Emine Ziyatdinova, a Crimean Tatar journalist and multimedia artist explained: “I was just in Crimea. People have it on their ringtones. It’s a way to protest what is going on.” More

Little wonder that Russian government officials are not pleased. Tass, a Russian News Agency, explained: “The Mejlis emerged back in 1991, when the descendants of Crimean Tatars, deported from Crimea after being charged with collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, began to return to the land of their ancestors. When Crimea reunited with Russia in 2014, the Mejlis failed to have itself registered properly at the Russian Justice Ministry. Its leaders reside outside the peninsula and refuse to recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia.”

Russia is protecting its access route to the Black Sea and its investment in the harbor. The Independent, a UK news media company explained in 2014: “Crimea is strategically important as a base for the Russian navy. The Black Sea Fleet has been based on the peninsula since it was founded by Prince Potemkin in 1783. The fleet’s strategic position helped Russia defeat Georgia in the South Ossetia war in 2008, and remains crucial to Russian security interests in the region.” More

The Tartar singer wants to see her family, the Russians need to keep their country secure, the Ukrainians… well, the Ukrainians are still struggling with the basic concept of democracy.

Newsweek reported on April 16, 2016 “In the span of one week beginning April 6, Dutch voters rejected ratification of a long-awaited EU-Ukraine trade deal, putting Ukraine’s aspirations of European integration in jeopardy; the Panama Papers exposed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s offshore assets, sparking a media firestorm in Ukraine; and Ukraine’s prime minister resigned after months of political turmoil, sparking a political clash in the search for his replacement.

Meanwhile, the ongoing war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region is steadily worsening, and a ceasefire that never fully took hold is teetering on the edge of collapse.

“No, of course the revolution didn’t achieve its goals,” Onyshchenko says. “People are definitely frustrated, but they are too tired to make another revolution.”  More

Eurovision has come a long way from the days when Abba won the contest with their song Waterloo.  I just love Abba and their song Mamma Mia was such fun. The world is getting more difficult, or perhaps we are just becoming more aware of it.  With that in mind Mamma Mia let’s all remember that we should all be there for each other:

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