A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Absent friend: Morocco

Only once did an entry from Morocco grace the Eurovision stage: in 1980, Samira Bensaïd sang about peace, love and understanding in Arabic and was rewarded seven points and a second last place.

Samira Bensaïd - Bitaqat hub (Morocco 1980)

Many things have been said about this one-off participation: that Morocco took the opportunity to participate a year when Israel sent no representative, that it was the Moroccan king that decided for his country to withdraw after the poor showing in The Hague.

What we do know is that the singer moved to Egypt and went on to achieve significant stardom all over the Arab world under the name Samira Said. Not only an admired singer, she has also promoted HIV/AIDS awareness as well as  inter-religious understanding and co-operation.

In these times when the muslim countries of northern Africa undergo radical changes in many areas of society, I think it could be a good idea for them to turn their eyes towards Eurovision again.

Of course there are many more urgent, truly important matters for them to deal with. But out of the unimportant matters I think ESC participation could be an important factor, for many reasons.

It wouldn't be a bad thing if these countries felt close to Europe and it wouldn't be a bad thing if they felt Europe took an interest back and embraced their presence. They would have a chance to show their culture, their performers and their mere presence on the most popular tv show in Europe and they would be an active part of this important cultural manifestation.

It would also be a good opportunity for these countries to meet Israel in a friendly competition, shake hands and realise it is nothing dangerous about singing a song in the same song contest as Israel.

Lebanon pulled out of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest because they could "not guarantee" that they would show the Israeli entry in their broadcast. This is where the EBU could step in, actively invite the tv companies of northern Africa and the Middle East and help build bridges. A small but not important step, if so.

I'm sure Samira Said would agree that this would be a good thing. Make it happen!

Aline Lahoud - Quand tout s'enfuit (Lebanon 2005 withdrawn)


  1. I like your Absent Friends articles, is there another one for Slovakia coming soon? Unfortunately a lot of the fans seem to totally overlook Slovakia when they list the countries that are missing this year. Plus Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco, Czech Republic etc :)

    1. I absolutely have an article about Slovakia's absence inside of me. I had planned to write more of these but there is never enough time for everything you want. :)

      But this series could well continue also after the ESC final is over, even if I hope for Slovakia and the others to be back.