Eurovision Song Contest 2012 – Baku, Azerbaijan


On Saturday, millions of people follow the Euro Vision Song Contest on TV. From the human rights violations, the suppression of free speech and incitement against homosexuals, they will probably not notice anything. Elmar Kraushaar informed of developments and the situation in Azerbaijan just before the ESC.



No one will say more, homosexuality is not an issue in Azerbaijan. On the contrary, the latest example of the host country of this year’s Euro Song Contest (ESC) just happened on 17 May, in western countries as “International Day Against Homophobia” committed. In Baku, the news website “ESCtoday” homo-haters has been hacked, the work of 12 years was erased in seconds. Instead, the following text was placed on the page: “There is no place for gays immoral in Azerbaijan. Leave our country. No place in Azerbaijan for gay men who look like animals. ”

Fear of “queers and perverts”: No gay parade for ESC
This hacker attack is the culmination of a series of homophobic attacks, which all relate to the ESC. That the festival traditionally attracts a gay fan base from all over Europe, of course, as far away as Azerbaijan and is well known in the southern neighboring country, Iran. Thus, a prominent Shiite preachers had warned a few weeks ago at Friday prayers in the northern Iranian city of Tabriz, the center of Iranian Azerbaijanis in Baku against the government to allow an alleged gay parade during the ESC. “The planned party and parade will attract anti-Islamic forces and perverts.” Other countries would not allow these perverts and queers to hold their parade.

The fanatic words of the preacher led to demonstrations in Tabriz and in Astara, hundreds of believers gathered and chanted: “Azerbaijan is a Muslim country and not a place for queers” These protests calling again on Iran opposition in Azerbaijan on the scene, a few days later in front of Iranian embassy in Baku gathered on banners and turn against “gay Iranian mullahs,” warned the place is not in Azerbaijan. In view of the ESC announced the mainly student protesters, their home was a tolerant, secular country: “We demonstrate our unity and equality with all nations participating in the ESC.”

“We are not ready for it”
The rumor that the ESC would be a ground for a gay parade in Baku, has surfaced at the end of 2011 in public. Azerbaijani government officials denied immediately. But also of gay side was immediately contradicted. “We’re not ready for it,” said Kamran Rzajev of the organization, “Gender and Development”, and Ruslan Balukhin of the website “” spoke of a “terrible idea”: “Not one of Baku’s only gay and lesbian dreams of such demonstrations or parades. “

In fact, the situation for gay and lesbian community in Azerbaijan is by no means rosy. Although there is no legal age for handling more against them, there are homosexuals in the Soviet Muslim population, and equally difficult. Your life will take place mainly in hiding, in private or official meeting. “It reminds me of stories of post-war Germany,” says I, a gay businessman from Berlin, who has been working in Baku. In recent ILGA report about the human rights situation of gays and lesbians, the country ranks at the Caspian Sea on one of the remotest places, close to Russia and Moldova. “Homosexuality is considered worse than prostitution,” said the human rights Jadigjar Sadjkov. “If a family decides to kill her gay son, which is widely welcomed.”

Azerbaijan: A tolerant place?
Although there are now facilities in Baku as the “Club Benua”, offering help for homosexuals who feel marginalized in this culture with strong religious traditions, or even in their Muslim family violence. “But society does not talk about homosexuality,” a 19 year old gay man says in an interview with the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”. . “You do not respect us as individuals, but insulted us,” But for the onslaught of gay fans from all over Europe ESC is itself open to the presidential administration and enlightened: “Azerbaijan is a tolerant place. We do not care who is gay and who is not, “says the head of the department of social and political issues, Gassanow Ali, a reporter for the news agency dpa. Yet others warn guests back before the ESC, to kiss her on the street or their homosexuality especially to showcase.

The autocratic government of Azerbaijan uses the ESC to present themselves cosmopolitan and west and has spent vast amounts of money for the musical propaganda show. Even when it comes to homosexuality, she has eaten for the day of the festival chalk. But there is no evidence that the good mood will persist after the withdrawal of the ESC circus. In the fight against dissidents and political opponents every prejudice and resentment is still needed.


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