Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Support Armenia’s Eurovision 2008 entry

I was reading over the last couple of days blog entries (here and here) with heated debates on whether we should boycott Armenia’s entry in Eurovision 2008 because of political reasons, i.e. Sirusho & co support for recently inaugurated president Serj Sargsyan and his predecessor Robert Kocharyan.

The question forwarded: Should we boycott Sirusho in Eurovision 2008?

My answer is No, No, and No. Boycott individual singers, hit their pockets by not buying concert tickets, CDs, DVDs etc. That would be the most effective approach.

Just 3 brief points about this whole Eurovision saga.

1. Remember that in Eurovision Sirusho does not represent Armenian government or merely Public TV (anyone who reads this blog knows my critical opinion towards them). However, above anything else, Sirusho represents Armenia. I can’t boycott Armenian chess players just because chess federation is lead by Serj Sargsyan. I can’t boycott Armenian footballers just because of persona of FA president.

2. Say, Armenia’s national football team is playing with France. Which team I would support, despite knowing that objectively France has stronger team than Armenia? Of course, Armenia. That’s how it is. I can’t be “objective” when it comes to sport and competitions in which my country takes part. Regardless however critical I may be towards current state of affairs in Armenia, I love my country, and will always support it during international competitions.

3. Consider Eurovision as something fun, light entertainment, organise parties, and try to have good time. If you stop taking it too seriously, you may actually end up having good time watching it, mocking performers, having laugh, betting for the most entertaining part of it – voting. Yes, even during the most difficult times it is important to distract yourself for a while from a reality and have a bit of laugh, regardless of political affiliations.

I am not Sirusho’s fan, but apparently she is doing quite well among Eurovision fans and in betting agencies. And her song is very Eurovision-like. I would however advise Sirusho to work on her moves: voice is fine, but performance-wise she needs more work to do.

To conclude this post, I call everyone to support Armenia’s entry in Eurovision 2008. In any case, that’s exactly what I am going to do.


k said...

I boycotted this and all the previous entries because the songs are of very low quality and are more Turkish than Armenian.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Personally I'd like to see people vote for the song they like regardless of where it comes from. Armenians can feel proud if Sirusho does well, and especially if she wins, but I hope they will vote for her because they truly like the song first and foremost.

Of course, as most people I know in the U.K., we don't take Eurovision seriously at all so I don't suppose it matters. On the other hand, with the admission of Eastern bloc countries into the competition, the quality has vastly improved compared to previous years.

Even so, I might well boycott the competition if only because it's not my cup of tea. I prefer rock and fusion rather than pop, although don't get me wrong. I'll be happy if Sirusho wins based on her song and not her origins (or her political links, for that matter).

artmika said...

I would love to see Eurovision Rock festival!

mayranoush said...

While at first it may sound like a good idea to boycott Sirusho, but like boycotts of the olympics in the past, the only people hurt are the athletes or in this case a singer. The politicians or government officials are not harmed at all.

Yes, she may be a so-called 'paladakan' singer, but will any boycott of Sirusho at Eurovision have an impact on Serzh and his policies? I think not.

If people want to express their anger at her politics then a better way to do it is to stop buying her CDs and attending her concerts, rather than voting against Armenia in Eurovision. Because they way Eurovision is set up it is countries that get the votes not the singers. So in this case if people were to boycott Sirusho then they would effectively be boycotting Armenia. Is it worth it?

Azad said...

Some more ideas for boycotts:
Boycott the Olympics games to show our disgust for Dodi Gago, the notorious oligarch and the president of RA Olympic Committee.
Boycott and close down Yerevan State University as its current President of the Board is no other than the Wicked Serge himself.
Boycott and close down the Russian Library that was inaugurated two weeks ago by Mrs. Kocharyan and Putina. (Killing two birds with one stone).
Boycott and demand the demolition of the Northern Avenue, the strongest symbol of Kocharyan era dispossession of land and construction hype.

Anonymous said...

How would Armenians be able to boycott Sirusho? They can't vote for her anyway, as you're not allowed to vote for your own country.

subotage said...

the whole regime with its infrastructures should be sabotaged.
An easy way to achieve is to inflict filth in the government institutions in the form of sewage It is simple.
1. buy a sponge
2 wet it
3. tight it with a string so it becomes very small
4. dry it
5. take the string off
6. go to a MFA, Police, Courthouse, City Hall toilet and flush very gently/ or staff it so the small, dried sponge ball stops in the toilet pipes.
As soon as it gets wet it will expand and clog the sewage system.
the smell in those buildings will be horrible so they will be forced down to shut them down.

For this and more techniques see:

Onnik Krikorian said...

Boycott the Olympics games to show our disgust for Dodi Gago, the notorious oligarch and the president of RA Olympic Committee.

Would seem a bit strange given the glowing praise Levon made of him in the days prior to the election. A moral man who had never done anything bad to his people or his country, is what Levon was quoted as saying, but anyway. ;-)

As for boycotts,I personally think that real, tangible targets need to be identified. Indeed, in 2000 or 2001 I even suggested a boycott then which I think would be more than appropiate now.

That is, boycott all those cafes owned by corrupt officials and former officials in the Opera park (although ironically one apparently reportedly belongs to Ararat Zurabian), businesses and goods owned by the same or oligarchs who haven't paid their taxes.

Actually, it's really hard to find anyone clean in business in Armenia, but there are levels. So, I'd consider some kind of pecking order for cafes, restaurants, goods etc. Of course, it won't achieve anything as most people won't join in, but it would at least make a statement and I'd consider being part of it.

However, that is as along as there is no mention of Ter-Petrossian specifically as these issues have existed for years before he turned up on the scene. That is, destruction of environment, corruption, democratization etc.

Indeed, steer clear of making it an openly pro-Levon thing and more of a pro-democracy action and you could even get environmentalists and other political groups involved. Indeed, only this approach, in my opinion, will succeed.

Anonymous said...

"That is, boycott all those cafes owned by corrupt officials and former officials in the Opera park (although ironically one apparently reportedly belongs to Ararat Zurabian)..."

Why "ironically," Onnik?? I would think, "naturally."

Anonymous said...

Please, stop calling people to vote for performers for their descent. What matters is the quality. I don't think it's a sign of patriotism to vote for Sirousho unless you like her song.
Art and music and science should be beyond nationalities and borders.

artmika said...

I 100% agree with what you said in your last sentence. I am afraid, Eurovision for me is not a matter of “art, music and science”. As I said (re-read my point No.2), when there is international contest involving Armenia, I always support Armenia’s bid to win. But I want to stress that I am referring here to contests, not art or music per se, where my preferences are pretty varied and based on quality the way I perceive it.

In fact, for all my subsequent choices, in this case in Eurovision, I will definitely follow your line which is mine too. Besides, for Eurovision, as confirmed by various fan ratings, Sirusho is considered as pretty good choice for Armenia.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

I think boycotting the businesses of corrupt officials and mafiosi is an excellent idea.

But the idea of boycotting Sirusho, and I'm saying this as an ardent LTP supporter, is very short-sighted.

First, think of Sinatra, who was very strongly associated with the mob, as were many, many other entertainers. The average middle class American in the US wanted to get rid of the mob, but I don't think that in all those years it crossed even one person's mind to boycott Sinatra. What for?

Entertainers perform for the mob for the sake of their careers. You can hold them responsible for the the quality of their work, but you can't hold them personally responsible for the political situation inside a whole country: Sirusho isn't responsible for Kocharian's atrocities.

But even more important, how does anyone know that such a boycott won't backfire and make the Opposition look like childish, froward, sore losers who would ruin the career of a young woman,a hopeful, out of spite? If you can't guarantee that it won't, then you shouldn't even think twice about it.

So it's wrong ethically, and it's crappy as a tactic.

artmika said...

Very well said, Armen!

Myrthe, this "boycotting call" is aimed at Diaspora Armenians and Armenian citizens who currently reside elsewhere in Europe. (P.S. for some technical reasons, your comment arrived to me very late, around midnight!)

Anonymous said...


For her stupid coments the other day that those who were killed on the night of March 1st, and I parapgrase her words) -Had it coming because they shoul not have been there!!!!

What an uncaring fool!!!!!!!!

artmika said...

A bit off-topic, but very indicative as how countries (and not only Eastern European or “small countries”) take Eurovision too seriously with a range of political and cultural sensitivities. Not only voting in Eurovision become an indication of political/cultural alliances and influences, but even language chosen for songs could spark a national scandal, as BBC reports that “Eurovision song sparks French row”

A French MP has said he is outraged that the song chosen to represent the nation in the Eurovision song contest has English lyrics. […]

Sebastien Tellier's entry, entitled Divine, combines both English and French lyrics with electro music.
France's culture minister has defended his song, saying the country should fully support his bid for victory. […]
[…] Mr Myard told the BBC that allowing an English song to represent France was a fiasco: "The French language is the tool of a huge industry in terms of cultural influence and if we French give up our language, what do you think the others will say?"
Mr Myard, himself a fluent English speaker, said it was not appropriate that, in a European contest, France should "monkey another's culture".
"I think that even in a song, especially in this Euro contest, we have to sing in French," he added.

grigor sargsyan said...


If your example is to show that in the west people don't boycott artists than it feels that you are not entirely correct.

Here are few examples,

Jane Fonda for her comments on Vietnam war. People not only boycotted her but she didn't even get roles in the movies until only recently.

Another example is Dixie Chicks for their comments on Iraq war and American soldiers.

People boycott celebrities for their carelessness, and this happens a lot. But boycotting Sirusho is of a different nature (this is probably what Armen was getting at) than the above described boycotts. She has nothing to do with all of this, and we can only imagine how frustrated she is now. Can you imagine she is only 21 and Kocharian's son wants her (if the reports are correct). Can she say no? I doubt it.

At any rate, the whole thing is rather pointless.

Shiva said...

Grigor, Jane Fonda got along just fine after the whole Vietnam controversy. I think she won her Oscars after it, actually. She had continued success into late '80s, but decided to retire from acting after her film Stanley and Iris in 1990. Obviously, she returned to the screen a few years ago. She was one of the main speakers at the Children of Armenia Fund dinner in 2006, by the way.

Fonda aside, did Nune really say that?!? What a sycophant! Though it's not too surprising. Armenia really needs a "Jane Fonda" of its own...

artmika said...

Shiva, yes, Nune Yesayan made those outrageous comments. Here is what she said, according to Aravot daily (in Armenian):

Դառնալով մարտի 1-ի հայտնի դեպքերին՝ երգչուհին հավելեց. «Կոտորած չի եղել, իսկ մարդիկ, ովքեր այնտեղ են գտնվել՝ շատ սխալ են արել: Նա՝ ով զոհվել է, պետք է այնտեղ չլիներ»:


grigor sargsyan said...


I by no means meant that Fonda lost because of her comments. She has maintained a huge fan base after those comments (in fact some argue that she made those comments to increase her fan base as it was in fashion to be against the war). At any rate, I was just giving an example that someone did get boycotted in the west, and not that I care about her or Dixie Chicks.

What Nune Yesayan said is really mysterious. She is already well established both in Armenia and in Diaspora. So we cannot justify her using the same logic that has been applied in Sirusho's case. Maybe she just lost touch with reality. Anyway, the situation is no different now than what it was in 96. Then the pop stars of 90s were making such comments. Strangely, some of the current ones like Shushan Petrosyan were protecting Levon back then. Hmm.

grigor sargsyan said...

[...]Կոտորած չի եղել, իսկ մարդիկ, ովքեր այնտեղ են գտնվել՝ շատ սխալ են արել: Նա՝ ով զոհվել է, պետք է այնտեղ չլիներ [...]

Even though the statement is disgusting as it is, but it is an open statement. She could easily come back and say I was misunderstood, or misspoke, or blah blah blah, and etc.

I think the following is the most outrageous thing that we learned from that interview.

[..]Լեւոն Տեր-Պետրոսյանի օրոք որպես երգչուհի կայացած Ն. Եսայանը, պատասխանելով լրագրողներից մեկի հարցին, փաստեց, որ երգիչ-երգչուհիների մեջ շատ քիչ են ընդդիմադիր հայացք ունեցողները. «Ես գիտեմ, որ շատերն ընտրել են մեր նախագահին: Մենք բոլորս նրա կողքին ենք եղել ու դա մեր անձնական ընտրությունն է: Ես ընտրել եմ, որովհետեւ հավատում եւ ճանաչում եմ այդ մարդուն: [...]

Really, only a small portion of the Armenian musicians are in the opposition. How can that be? Any other time when this happened in the history it was because the artist had no choice but not to be in the opposition. So I guess she is effectively acknowledging that they are forced into saying things they say.

The only bright thing she said was

[...] Ծիծաղելի է, որ մեզ մոտ դասական երաժշտության համերգները ցուցադրվում են միայն շատ ուշ ժամերի՝ գիշերը 3-ից հետո: Եվ ողջ եթերը ողողված է ցածրորակ երաժշտությամբ[...]

Is this an attack on H1?

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...


Performing for the mob and taking a political stance are different things.

If artists take a political stance, then they can be held responsible for it, and as far as I know Sirusho has not taken a stance.

The Dixie Chicks and Jane Fonda took a political stance. The people who boycotted them were not wrong for holding them responsible for their political stance but wrong for thinking Bush is not a psychopath, in one case, and wrong for thinking that the mess that was Vietnam should continue.

In any case, we agree about Sirusho. And if people want to boycott Nune Yesayan (a singer, right?) then I would have no problem with that because, again, she's taken a political stance.

grigor sargsyan said...

I am not in favor of organized boycotts at all. We shouldn't constantly criticize our artists and thus force them to say only things that we want them to say. For me it was good that she made those comments because her true self came out and from now on she won't be on the list of Armenian artists that I support by buying CDs and etc (even though I hate pop). But turning this into a full scale boycott doesn't feel right somehow.

I think the reports were that Sirusho promoted Serj, and that is why some want to boycott her.

Lets drop Jane Fonda issue, it was just an example of a boycott in the west. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Sirusho rocked the stage, made the world spin and took everyone captive with her charm, beauty and performance. At only 21, she has the grace of Audrey Hepburn, the charm of Anna Pavlova and the voice that commands respect wherever she is and the stage of Eurovision 2008 is definitely no exception. She also wrote her own song.

As for the other contestants, some of them definitely seemed like they were stuck in a time warp with their appearance and performance. In fact I had to look at the screen twice to confirm that it was Eurovision 2008 and not 1988.

Sirusho could very well finish at #1.

artmika said...

Eurovision 2009 – Yerevan, Armenia (!): Go Sirusho! Go Armenia!

Eurovision: In final, but…

My Eurovision 2008 favourites: Armenia, then Portugal and France

artmika said...

Armenia in Eurovision 2008: No. 2 - semifinal, No. 4 - final. Pretty good results!

DUBBZ said...

Why the hell would anyone want to boycott sirusho? why dont they boycott that cockeyed levon ter petrosyan for causing so much riots in armenia!