A Macedonian singer with her knowledge sparks outrage in her country

From our special correspondent in Turin (Italy)

A seemingly harmless gesture that took on an enormous dimension. On Sunday evening, the opening ceremony of Eurovision 2022 was held at the Royal Palace of Venaria, twenty minutes north of Turin. The 40 participating delegates walked on the turquoise carpet (the symbolic color of one of the main sponsors of the competition), answered questions from the media waiting on site, and posed in front of the photographers.

Andrea Kojewska, actress of North Macedonia, did not deviate from this traditional photo session. A few moments later, the 22-year-old singer dumped her flag to be more free from her moves. She threw it smiling, pulling it to the ground, before taking a stance in front of goal.

“You despised a national symbol”

This is what sparked controversy. The Macedonian channel MPT, which broadcasts the competition and supervises the delegation, issued a press release as part of the process of “condemning the scandalous position” of its artist, who wrote, “This gesture lacks respect for a national symbol, and it is punishable by law.”

The public media demanded Andrea Kojewska “apologize to the people” and even raised the possibility of a complete withdrawal from the competition. The statement concluded that “all legal measures will be taken against those responsible for this scandal within the delegation.”

Less than two hours later, MPT uploaded a video showing Andrea Kowiska, holding a flag, explaining that she “has no intention of offending.” [sa] nation” and that they simply complied with the paparazzi’s request to take pictures without the flag. This, apparently, shut down the ban on the outburst of national pride.

antecedents

This is not the first time that an artist representing North Macedonia at Eurovision has found himself accused of undermining the nation. Last year, Vasyl Garvanliev had to explain himself because in the clip of his song I’m standing here, appeared before a work by Janita Vangeli composed of one monochrome white, one green, and a red one. Some of his compatriots saw it as a reference to the Bulgarian flag. However, relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia are marked by underlying tensions somewhat, with the former vetoing the latter’s integration into the European Union. The singer, who has both Macedonian and Bulgarian citizenships, presented a second version of his clip, without the controversial plan. And in a video posted on Facebook, he said: “I don’t apologize for being me. I would never do it. However, if I hurt anyone in any way, from the bottom of my heart: I’m sorry. Excuse me.”

In 2019, at Eurovision, Tamara Todevska was a source of pride for North Macedonia by taking first place in the national jury votes before taking an honorable seventh place. A few weeks later, she was invited to sing the national anthem at the US Embassy in Skopje but omitted a line referring to revolutionary figures. Then a lively argument swelled, forcing her to justify herself. “They thought I got paid [ne pas chanter cette partie]I explained at the end of 2019 to Wiwiblogs. I got the lyrics wrong and started hating. They hated me so much when that was the time I should have been happy with what happened [à l’Eurovision] So proud of myself, I found myself between four walls wondering what was happening to me. »

name story…

North Macedonia, which has been independent since the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, declared its independence for the first time as the “Republic of Macedonia”. However, Greece opposed it because Macedonia is the name of its largest region. So the young country joined the United Nations in 1993 under the name The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia…and then five years later.

His track record in song competition is hardly impressive, consisting only of places at the bottom of the second half of the rankings. And again, when its artists managed to reach the final – and it was not so between 2013 and 2018. In 2019, after finding common ground with Greece, the country took its current name: North Macedonia. That year, Tamara Todevska offered her her first ten players. “It would be naive to think that it was a coincidence if the first participation in Eurovision with the new, calm name saw Macedonia return not only to the final after so many years. But also to get the best result in its history: 305 points. Including one from Greece “, as Giacomo Natali says in his book: Eurovision Cabira (Not published in French).

Andrea Kojewska is due to participate in the second semi-final of the Eurovision tournament, which will be broadcast live from Turin on Culturebox (Channel 14), on Thursday, from 9pm. His song is called circles.

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