Is it our victory?

Article published on May 26, 2009
Article published on May 26, 2009
© Mila, Minsk Cafe Babel “This is our victory!” these are the words which were chosen by the Belarusian commentators of the Eurovision 2009 contest that took place in Moscow to accompany the scenes of Alexander Rybak’s victory, a Norwegian of Belarusian origin. This opinion is shared by many people from Belarusians where this contest is very popular.
Now when ballyhoo about “our victory” slightly decreased we can try to give the answer to the question “Is it really ours?” Can Belarusians and Belarus be proud of long-awaiting first award at the Eurovision? It’s worth mentioning that even Russian commentator of the contest used the word “our” in relation to the win of the Norwegian of Belarusian origin. So whom does this victory belong to? Is it Belarusian, Russian, Norwegian or it nevertheless belongs to nomadic tribes of Mongolia?

Alexander Rybak whose name and surname sound so native represented Norway and won with a record break-aword break-away. That victory was predicted by the bookmakers long time before the contest. Is the Belarusian origin a reason of such success? Well, may be indirectly.

Alexander Rybak’s parent being both Belarusians moved to Norway for permanent residence at the beginning of 90s. Alexander was six at that time. Both mother and father are the professional musicians pianist and violinist respectively. Alexander’s father was offered a job in Norway and the family moved to the suburb of Oslo. Alexander was back to Belarus for half a year after that and even went to the school under Belarusian State Academy of Music. But the major part of his life Alexander Rybak spent in Norway where he was educated as a musician and scored a success in this field: performance with the A-ha musicians and famous violinist Pinahas Zukerman; a victory in the Kjempesjansen show with the song "Foolin" composed by himself; a part in the Norwegian movie "Yohan - Child Wanderer" which will be released at the end of August, 2009; Anders Johres’ award in the field of culture. Currently Alexander works as concertmaster in Ung Symfoni, the largest youth symphonic orchestra in Norway.

Apparently, the choice of the career was much influenced by the parents who fulfilled themselves as musicians. And the choice was correct. The part Belarusian parents in the formation of the present Eurovision winner’s musical mastery based on the talent and abilities which were built in genetically is enormous. But this is the only contribution of Belarus in this victory. A young hopeful has grown to a mature talent on Norwegian land. Alexander’s parents didn’t try to come back to Belarus because they realizing that there were much more prospects for them and their son to make a career of musicians in Norway. Even mentioning the Belarusian folk songs in the interviews to Belarusian journalists Alexander Rybak tells that his idols are Mozart, the Beatles and Sting and calls his song Norwegian. He also identifies himself with Norwegian realizing that in spite of origin he is not Slavonic.

This victory belongs to Alexander Rybak, his parents, directors, managers and all of them have a Norwegian passport. Norway can impartially be proud of its victory and we are not eligible appropriate it. Belarusians can also be proud of their compatriot but not Belarus. And “our victory” or “our fortune” or “our misfortune” is that one, who showed his master in eloquence better than in singing.