Even before this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, commentators claimed that if Ukraine took home the trophy, it would not be for the quality of its folk-rap entry, “Stefania.” Instead, it would be a sign of European support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
“We Cannot Leave an Empty Void on the Border to Russia and the Arctic”.
Though in his Friday commentary this week, our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm writes about the Norwegian government’s High North initiatives and how they appear to undermine one another, and about how Equinor struggles to find out how to spend its enormous profits.
“I myself struggle hard to understand the total sum of signals sent out by a government insisting that it will lead Northern Norway into another era of industrial adventure. Because its signals and tools point in all directions at once”, Holm writes.
High waves in Iceland
There are high waves in Icelandic waters these days.
Norwegian Fisheries and Ocean Policy Minister Bjørnar Skjæran has gotten in touch with his Icelandic counterpart to discuss the matter.
Hero and a New Journalist
Do you know a High North Hero?
Every year, the High North Center for Business and Governance awards a High North Hero prize to honor someone who leave their trace in the High North.
“We are looking for someone who can nuance the image of the Arctic” says Arctic Frontiers Director and Jury Leader Anu Fredrikson, who hopes the public will make the jury’s job a lot harder this year.
We are also very happy to introduce you to the latest addition to our editorial staff!
“With Astri onboard, we strengthen our editorial High North competence”, says a well pleased Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm.
Feel free to share this newsletter with others who want news from the High North. Thank you for following us!
On behalf of our editorial staff I wish you all the best for the weekend!
News Editor, High North News
'Replacement' conspiracies driving gunmen creep into mainstream politics – CNN
(CNN)Critics are drawing parallels between the pattern of racist gunmen citing fears of a conspiracy to “replace” Whites with rhetoric pushed on Fox and by some Republican politicians.
- The Buffalo shooting and the victims: 10 people were killed at a supermarket and authorities say it was hate crime. The gunman exchanged fire with and killed an armed security guard.
- The shooter: The suspect is 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who traveled from another New York county hours away and livestreamed the attack on the social media platform Twitch.
Ukraine won the 2022 Eurovision because of politics – The Washington Post
The Eurovision Song Contest allows countries to enter songs — but also to vote for the songs entered by other countries (each country nominates a jury of representatives to vote on its behalf). Several country representatives didn’t exactly try to hide their sympathy for the Ukrainian cause. When Poland’s representatives were asked for their jury vote, they mentioned “artistic creativity” — but also the bravery of Ukrainian fighters.
And it’s true: Ukraine’s victory on Saturday was political. This doesn’t make it unusual. Eurovision has always been about politics, even if the European Broadcasting Union (the organization that runs Eurovision) sometimes claims the opposite.
Past Eurovision songs have taken aim at Russia
In the past, Russia’s neighbors have weaponized Eurovision songs to retaliate against Russian actions. In 2007, Ukraine submitted a song called “Dancing Lasha Tumbai.” In Ukrainian, the pronunciation sounds very much like “Russia Goodbye.” After Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, that country tried the same trick with a song called “We Don’t Wanna Put In” — coincidentally pronounced in the song like “we don’t want a Putin.” It didn’t work; the entry was promptly disqualified. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Ukraine’s entry was a song about the Soviet deportation of Crimean Tatars. The song, entitled “1944,” also won the contest.
An analysis of voting patterns demonstrates that Russia, too, has engaged in Eurovision politics. Since Russia first entered the contest in 1994, its entry has frequently finished in the top five. Is that due to the quality of its entrants? Maybe, but many watchers also have noted how Russia almost always collects “douze points” (12 points: the maximum) from Belarus and other allies. This year, Russia was banned from participating.
Not all of the politics is about Russia’s actions
So, would Eurovision be apolitical if Russia’s ban from the contest became permanent? Hardly. While many of the recent political scandals have involved Russia, it’s not the only country that sparks controversy.
Israel’s participation in Eurovision means that many Arab countries do not participate, even though Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan are all eligible. Morocco’s first and only appearance in the contest was in a year Israel did not participate. In 2005, Lebanon withdrew rather than broadcast the Israeli entry.
Nor have Western European nations avoided politics. 1974’s Eurovision might be best known for introducing the world to ABBA. The Portuguese entry was more politically consequential: It served as a signal for coup plotters to begin the overthrow of Portugal’s authoritarian regime. Nor was that all; Italy censored its own entry that year, for fear that listening to “Sì” too many times would influence voters to vote “sì” (yes) in a referendum the next month to make divorce legal.
Eurovision has been political from the start
None of this is entirely surprising. Eurovision — and the European Broadcasting Union — was founded in the aftermath of World War II. The aim was to promote European cooperation. If it gave European nations a way to compete without guns and bombs, that was all to the good. There are worse ways for nations to vie for supremacy than with song and dance.
Given these foundations, it is safe to say that “Stefania” is not undermining any proud vision of political neutrality in Eurovision. It is very likely that Ukraine did win because of the Russian invasion — but it will be neither the first nor the last time that Eurovision expresses politics through the medium of a song contest. The solidarity that other European countries have expressed with Ukraine, and their implicit condemnation of Russia’s invasion, is not out of keeping with the contest’s political beginnings.
How women have helped change the culture of politics in Quebec – CBC.ca
It’s been 61 years since Claire Kirkland-Casgrain became the first woman elected to Quebec’s National Assembly, and though women politicians say there is still much to change to make Quebec politics more inclusive, they point to the ways they’ve already created progress in what was a boy’s club for centuries.
“It was really a purpose of mine to change the way we go about politics, the way we practise it,” said Véronique Hivon, who recently announced she would not be running in the next provincial election, after being a mainstay in Quebec politics for more than a decade.
Hivon, the Parti Québécois MNA for Joliette, is one of 16 women so far who have announced they will not run again in this year’s provincial elections, expected in October.
A CBC analysis earlier this week highlighted the fact that number represents about one in four female MNAs, compared to one in seven male MNAs who have announced they will not seek re-election. There are currently 55 women and 70 men who sit in the provincial legislature.
Groupe Femmes, politique et démocratie, an organization based in Quebec City, has been pressuring the province to adopt a “parity law” that would force parties to have between 40 and 60 per cent of their candidates be women.
“Because it won’t happen alone,” said Esther Lapointe, the group’s director. “There are always setbacks.”
Lapointe worries the majority Coalition Avenir Québec government’s surging popularity in the polls and the opposition parties’ struggle to gain ground before the election could be the reason so many women are leaving.
But Hivon, in an interview with CBC this week, said she is optimistic more people — more women — will enter politics without feeling like they have to “fit into a mould.”
Hivon has been hailed for her work on cross-partisan initiatives. With three other female MNAs from different parties, and in just under four years, Hivon helped create Quebec’s new court specialized in sexual violence and domestic violence.
She also helped draft Quebec’s legislation on medical aid in dying and led a highly praised commission on end-of-life care.
Hivon was seen as a natural choice to succeed former PQ leader Jean-François Lisée when he lost his seat in the 2018 election, but she decided not to seek the job.
“I have no regrets. I feel I was able to fulfil my objectives and what I wanted to change in Quebec politics and in policies,” Hivon said.
“I feel I was able to do it, even though I wasn’t a leader — maybe even because I wasn’t a leader,” she added, laughing.
The PQ suffered a dismal result in the 2018 election, losing its official party status with only nine seats, compared to 30 in 2014, which was already one of the party’s worst results since 1970.
It is still reeling from those losses, finding itself fifth among the province’s six main parties in popularity, with only 10 per cent of the potential vote, according to polling aggregator 338canada.com.
Hivon posited that more women may be leaving this year because they are content to step aside once they’ve accomplished their goals.
“They don’t hold onto power maybe as much as men, who see it as a milieu, a place where they can still do things, even if they don’t know exactly what,” Hivon said in the interview.
WATCH | Véronique Hivon on why she thinks more women are leaving Quebec politics:
The pandemic and the reflections it prompted about work-life balance may have also played a role, she said.
Thérèse Mailloux, the president of Groupe Femmes, politique et démocratie, also said she believes women tend to leave once they feel they have accomplished their objectives.
That may be because the culture still has a ways to go to be more welcoming to people who are not white men.
“The men who have been there for centuries, well, they are in their codes and their networks and the way they do politics,” Mailloux said.
Need for better work-life balance
Québec Solidaire’s Ruba Ghazal, the MNA for Mercier, said she sees firsthand the ways her female colleagues don’t feel as comfortable in the National Assembly, and believes the institution should do more to “make it easier for women to come and to stay in politics.”
Ghazal suggested the National Assembly create a daycare to make it easier for politicians to find balance between their work and their families.
“I’m going to run again, and in my personal life it’s easier because I don’t have children and I will not have children,” Ghazal said, also speaking in an interview with CBC this week.
The way men in the Salon bleu approach debate is also different, Ghazal said, opting for harsher jabs in a style that can sometimes alienate women.
Still, she acknowledges, progress takes time.
“Even if it’s 50 years,” that women have been in politics in Quebec, “that’s not a lot of time to change this,” Ghazal said.
After Kirkland-Casgrain was first elected in 1961 for the Quebec Liberals, it would take another 15 years before more than one woman at a time would have a seat at the National Assembly.
Mailloux said she sees the culture changing. Debates — although at times brutal — have in general become more respectful. Schedules are more humane, and there is a recognition of the importance of working on cross-partisan initiatives, such as the ones Hivon participated in.
Hivon said it’s getting easier to be oneself in Quebec politics but it remains a fight to do so.
“I made a promise to myself when I entered politics that I would stay true to myself, my values, my convictions. It’s hard work every day because there are pressures, but you can do it,” she said, encouraging others to join.
“I really feel hopeful that there are new generations of women who will come and really be themselves.”
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