Selasa, 17 Mei 2016

Ukrainian Eurovision winning song strikes a political chord - the Irish News

Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

15 May, 2016 19:00

UKRAINE'S Eurovision victory will send a message of hope to the minority Tatars in Crimea, a leading member of the Ukrainian community has said.

Fedir Kurlak, chief executive of the Association of Ukrainians in Britain, said he "jumped for joy" after Saturday's win which he watched at home with his family in London.

Mr Kurlak said Jamala's song, 1944 – which was a tribute to her great-grandmother and referenced Stalin, Crimea and claims of ethnic cleansing – will remind those living in the annexed region that "people are there for them".

Jamala, who is a Tatar, pushed Russia into third place with her song that opens with the English lyrics: "When strangers are coming, they come to your house, they kill you all and say, 'We're not guilty'."

Mr Kurlak (55) said he was unsure whether the song was a political statement on the current conflict.

He said: "People are afraid to express their thoughts in Crimea at the moment. There is a group billed as a self-defence organisation that raid houses and take people away at their own will.

"The fact she was able to express what she felt in her heart may give those people hope," he added.

"The UK gave Ukraine five points in the public vote and that happened all over Europe, and I'm not sure if it was political votes or cultural votes but it may remind that people are there for them in the Crimea."

The British-born Ukrainian, whose parents fled after being deported to Germany as forced labourers in the 1940s, said he was hopeful the winners would be able to host next year's competition as is customary.

"I saw someone post online they should hold it in Crimea with the Crimean flags, but that's not going to happen.

He added: "I hope it can take place."

Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 was condemned by the West and strongly opposed by Crimea's Tatar minority, which faces persecution in the Moscow-ruled Black Sea peninsula.

Other Ukrainians in London celebrated the country's triumph with 'vodka and wine' according to Roman Kosysky, a restaurant owner in Twickenham, west London, which was screening the competition.

"There was a wonderful atmosphere... a party atmosphere. Everyone was shouting and celebrating. It was a surprise. People were dancing."

"People were shouting Viva Ukraine."

Mr Kosysky (23) director of Ukrainian restaurant Prosperity, said customers were given free drinks after the victory.

"It was started as a joke but then we won and everyone got a free drink."

"All the ladies were drinking sparkling wine, the men were drinking Ukrainian vodka... no mixer."

Members of the Ukrainian society at Exeter University watched the show together and praised the political nature of Jamala's song.

Student at the university and society member Roman Davymuka, said: " We know how Tatar people have been struggling recently, as during the annexation they mainly had a pro-Ukrainian position, so Jamala is likely not to just draw attention to the deportation during and after the Second World War but to the situation now and raise the question of Crimea again in the world."

"It is a pleasure for Ukrainians to win and to show our support to Tatar people," he added.

"We are very happy as well that this song is on a serious matter rather than just a fun song that happened to win, like it happened in Eurovision before."

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