An inept comment by singer Tamara Todevska protracted the argument over her Eurovision performance. Asked about the pulling of all stops to fund and promote her performance in Israel, with public money, she responded that “it would’ve been stupid if the money were used for ambulances, because then nobody would know about us”.
Tamara and her feminist anthem Proud were endorsed wholeheartedly by the Zoran Zaev Government, especially as a means to promote the imposed name of the country – hence Tamara’s statement that “nobody would know about us” was interpreted as meaning that nobody would know our “new name”. This turned many Macedonians against Tamara, sparking recriminations when she failed to win a meaningful number of votes from call-in voters, despite doing well with the jury votes.
Zaev and his SDSM party pioneered the PR ploy where they would compare any publicly funded project they found unnecessary to the cost of purchasing ambulances or paying for treatment of sick children abroad. SDSM went on endlessly about the death of a little girl, also named Tamara, who suffered from a serious form of scoliosis, insisting that a surgery abroad would have saved her life, and would compare any other project to the “cost of Tamara”. Another PR device was to criminally charge the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski for purchasing an armored Mercedes vehicle to be used for visiting foreign dignitaries, as Zaev insisted that the car will be sold and the money used to buy – ambulances (the Mercedes was found to be necessary for the Interior Ministry purposes, is not being sold, and was used to transport guests like Angela Merkel and Theresa May).
Tamara Todevska’s statement that the hundreds of thousands of euros spent on the promotion of her song, and with it the name “North Macedonia” were more important than purchasing more of the notoriously scarce ambulance vehicles quickly went viral drawing critical responses even from former supporters.
Eurovision brings life, not new ambulance vehicles. We are all going to die anyway, but it is worth dying for the Eurovision contest, wrote actor Saso Tasevski, former SDSM supporter who was among the loudest in promoting the narratives such as the “cost of Tamara” during the SDSM led Colored Revolution protests, but refused to support the party as it betrayed its promises.