Orthodox Christians in Cyprus are furious over the island nation submission in the Eurovision song contest.
Elena Tsagrinou‘s entry is called “El Diablo” and Orthodox leaders claim it’s mocking faith and promoting Satan. They’ve already called for her withdrawal from the contest:
The Holy Synod, the church’s highest decision-making body, said in a statement that the song “essentially praises the fatalistic submission of humans to the devil’s authority” and urged the state broadcaster to replace it with one that “expresses our history, culture, traditions and our claims.”
The song and its lyrics — “I gave my heart to el diablo … because he tells me I’m his angel” — had already caused a stir in the east Mediterranean island nation, where some have alleged it is fraught with satanic connotations.
The irony is that Tsagrinou is a Christian herself and she disagrees with their interpretation of her song:
[Tsagrinou] said the song is about a woman who cries out for help after falling for a “bad boy” known as “El Diablo” and coming to identify and bond with her abuser. Tsagrinou insisted that any other interpretation is “unfounded”.
“The song sends a strong message, one against any form of abuse, such as the one conveyed in El Diablo,” Tsagrinoutold the Associated Press. “In these Me Too Movement times that message is extremely relevant and can be felt not only in Cyprus but also across Europe and beyond,” she said.
Well, now it makes a lot more sense. Orthodox Christians are protesting a song about female empowerment and the importance of calling out abuse.
The bigger problem is that we’re not talking about one vocal priest. There have been protests in the streets against this song, with dozens of participants echoing Church leaders’ misplaced concerns. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that the state broadcaster isn’t caving in to the protesters’ demands, merely saying they should’ve done a better job explaining the meaning of the song.
The fact that conservative Christians are complaining about song lyrics they don’t understand isn’t new, but it’s disturbing that even they refuse to listen to the singer herself when she tries to correct the record. Even if the song was about Satan, which it’s not, that wouldn’t be grounds for a withdrawal either. The contest is meant to reward entertaining music. If a song fits that description, so be it.
The first semi-final episode isn’t scheduled until mid-May, so the window for opposition will be open for weeks to come.
(Thanks to Eoin for the link)