Clean green t-shirts. Stock photo from Unsplash

Clown fatigue strikes Sanremo

The world-famous Sanremo Festival kicked off in Italy on February 7. Actually, on the last evening of the spectacle, on Saturday, the Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was supposed to appear there via video link.

Published: February 13, 2023, 12:39 pm

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    This had become known in advance through an interview with the Ukrainian politician. But it did not get to that. The decision to invite the Ukrainian showman to the stage in a theater dedicated solely to Italian song since 1950 was rightly considered out of place.

    Bashar al-Assad always looks presidential; Zelensky not so much despite all the help from stylists and PR gurus. Twitter


    Perhaps someone’s green T-shirt needs an urgent wash. I’ve always found it surprising that President Assad of Syria somehow finds a crisp shirt and neat tie to wear for the camera after 12 years of bitter conflict in Syria, rocket attacks on his palace in Damascus and now the devastating earthquake. His war-stricken and winning counterpart on the other hand has cultivated the begging bum look.

    Watching Zelensky pathetically sniff his way through pressers, is almost like watching a confirmed cocaine addict perform.

    In Italy, too, there is strong opposition to the arms deliveries to Kiev and fears that the conflict will escalate. A petition against Zelensky’s performance and a “militarization of the event” quickly reached around 80 000 signatures, so the organizers caved in. Although the Ukrainian head of state did not make a video appearance, the moderator read a letter from the West’s saviour. It said that Ukraine would win the war, also thanks to the “power of freedom and culture”.

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    Hundreds of demonstrators never got the memo, and gathered around the festival site to express their opposition to the Ukraine policy and Zelensky’s constant demands for weapons. One protester explained: “This war only serves the lobbies that sell arms, the people are losing. The Russians are losing, the Ukrainians, who are cannon fodder for NATO, are losing. The Europeans and the Italians, who are paying the costs of the war, are losing.”

    Another participant criticized the Western narrative that the war only started in February last year. They simply ignore the entire history of the violent coup and war against the Donbass population instigated and proudly avowed by Washington’s regime change team.

    League leader, Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini said he was not that interested in hearing what Our Great Leader Volodymyr had to offer at the Sanremo Song Festival, stressing that he would only be tuning in to listen to the music.

    “Zelensky? I don’t know how he sings,” Salvini told journalists. “If I have time to watch [state television] it will be to listen to songs, not to listen to anything else.”

    Salvini said “let’s hope Sanremo remains the festival of Italian song and (doesn’t become) something else”. He added: “What I hope is that the war ends as soon as possible and that the stage of the City of the Flowers (Sanremo) remains reserved for music.”

    The festival coincided with the last week of campaigning for regional elections in Lombardy, Lazio and elsewhere in which a low turnout was pegged.

    Premier Giorgia Meloni, a big fan of Volodymyr, expressed her sadness that he could not be there in person.

    “I would have preferred Zelensky to have been present at Sanremo,” Meloni told a news conference after the European summit, adding that she “appreciated” the reading of a written message. “Above all, I’m sorry about the controversy that was stirred up. It isn’t easy to have politics fit into an event like Sanremo, although it is always present to a degree.” But Giorgia’s favorite person has lost his shine.

    The snub comes after his sniffing fest at the Glastonbury music festival in the UK, the Cannes and Venice film festivals, and last month at the Golden Globes, all via video link from Kiev. The PR blitzkrieg is clearly losing steam.

    The leader of the French Patriots party, Florian Philippot, bettered his Italian Lega mate and equalled his Forza colleague Berlusconi with more undiluted straight medicine. He announced the threat of a world war in which Zelensky and the European Union would be entirely to blame. Last week, “Zelensky and the EU staged an irresponsible circus, potentially leading to the Third World War!” the politician wrote on his Twitter feed.

    Carl Friedrich

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