Jamala

I am sitting with my wife basking in the afterglow of Jamala’s Eurovision win. Here are a few thoughts:

Once again, Crimean Tatars are pushed onto the spotlight. This time, it’s for winning Europe’s biggest contest outside of sports. Something positive and affirming after a couple of years of getting the bad end of things. It’s a good feeling.

The timing couldn’t have been better.  This week, a dentist at my site was arrested for being an extremist. He isn’t,  but he did go on Haj last year. That made him a target. Wednesday (the 18th) is the anniversary of the Surgun.  That’s the event Jamala’s song was about–the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars from their homeland at the end of WWII. Since the annexation, Russians have worked to prohibit memorial events. This is probably why there were arrests this week…as a threat. But Europe and Australia just trumped their plan to keep the event unremembered this year.

Because Russia will see this as an act of aggression against them (because everything is an act of aggression against them), things will likely get worse in Crimea for my friends and family. Everyone is prepared. Still, everyone gets to savor the victory tonight.

Congratulations, Jamala.

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