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Kiev gets rainbow arch for Eurovision

rainbow kievKiev is getting ready to host the Eurovision Song Contest in less than two weeks time and the theme this year is “Celebrating Diversity”.

Eurovision producers are redecorating the People’s Friendship Arch in Cross Park, which is dedicated to the unification of Russia and Ukraine under the Soviet Union with the rainbow colours and renaming it “the Arch of Diversity.”

When it’s done, the 200-foot installation will be the biggest manmade rainbow in the world, underscoring Eurovision 2017’s theme of “Celebrate Diversity.”

It’s an appropriate theme in a region not particularly gay-friendly. In 2015 Kiev Pride had to be abandoned because of neo-Nazi violent groups who attacked the participants. But many are witnessing a slow change in public sentiments, maybe also in reaction to the profound homophobia that is being witnessed in Russia, which whom Ukraine has a long standing conflict over Putin’s invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Undeniably, there’s a long way to go: a demonstration by some individuals who identified themselves as right-wing activists last Friday temporarily stopped the painting of the arch.

Sadly the monument will go back to its foreboding, gray appearance after the competition is over. But at least a point will be made, albeit temporarily.