Dozens of people carrying wooden crosses and singing hymns protested outside the Cyprus state broadcaster, CyBC, to demand the withdrawal of the country’s controversial participation in the Eurovision song contest, to be held next May in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
They say that the song “El Diablo” promotes the satanic cult.
Some of the protesters held up signs that read “We are protesting peacefully, not El Diablo”, “Repent and return to Christ” and “Christ saves; Devil kills.”
They shouted that it was an “island of saints” and that CyBC should not represent the faithful using the country’s flag, but instead replace it “with a multicolored one.”
“If you did not use the flag of Cyprus, no one would have the right to intervene or express their position. Because you represent my family, my grandfather, who is a priest, my grandmother and goes back two thousand years,” said one. protester.
“Tens of thousands of people are demanding that CyBC, an organization that serves the public, withdraws the song of worship to Satan. You are our employees and will do what you are told,” said a representative of the Young Christian Association to the Director of News and Actuality. Panic Affairs Haddjipanayis who received a request from the protesters’ lawyer.
The protesters presented Hadjipanayis, an icon of Saint Lazarus, to “hang it on your wall and keep you safe from everything,” as they said.
The announcer and singer of “El Diablo”, the Greek artist Elena Tsagrinou, insist that it has been misinterpreted and in fact it is an abusive relationship between two lovers.
The protest came several days after the powerful Orthodox Church called for the removal of the song, which it said mocked the country’s moral foundations by defending “our surrender to the devil and promoting his worship.”
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 authority of the devil” and urged the state broadcaster to replace it with one that “express our history, culture, traditions and our claims”.
Last week, police charged a man with threatening and causing a disturbance when he stormed onto the grounds of the public broadcaster to protest what he condemned as a “blasphemous song” that was an affront to Christianity.
The state broadcaster insisted the entry would not be withdrawn, but board chair Andreas Frangos admitted that organizers should have done a better job of explaining the song’s central message, the lyrics of which include: “I gave him my heart to the devil. ” … because he tells me that I am his angel. “
Even the Cypriot government got into the controversy, and presidential spokesman Viktoras Papadopoulos said that while dissenting views are respected, the government cannot override freedom of expression.
“The Government fully respects creative intellectual and artistic freedom that cannot be misinterpreted or limited by the title of a song, and unnecessary dimensions should not be attributed,” Papadopoulos said in a written statement.
Tsagrinou said the song is about a woman crying out for help after falling in love with a ‘bad boy’ known as ‘El Diablo’ and coming to identify with and bond with her abuser.
Tsagrinou insisted that any other interpretation is unfounded
“The song sends a strong message, against any form of abuse, such as that which is broadcast on El Diablo,” Tsagrinou told The Associated Press in a written statement.
“In these times of the Me Too movement, that message is extremely relevant and can be felt not only in Cyprus, but also throughout Europe and beyond.”
She added that she is a Christian and that her faith was very important to her.
Addressing the song’s detractors, Tsagrinou said that “we must all embrace the song’s true and intended message” and that people are now stepping forward with their own stories of abuse.
“Music unites and empowers. Let’s focus on that and the important issues around us and leave misinterpretations and dark thoughts behind,” Tsagrinou said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism