22:02 16.05.2016

Jamala becomes Honored Artist of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has assigned Eurovision 2016 song contest winner, Ukrainian singer of Crimean Tatar descent Jamala (Susana Dzhamaladinova) the title of the Honored Artist of Ukraine.

"The victory was fantastic. You've made many people happy," Poroshenko told Jamala when handing over that honorary award during a meeting on Monday evening, the presidential press service reported.

The president said that the singer's victory is of paramount importance to the Ukrainian nation, including Crimean Tatars, as now not only diplomats, but ordinary people know and discuss the tragic history of the Crimean Tatar people that was 72 years ago and the recent annexation of Crimea.

"Virtually, the entire world has risen in support of Ukraine, and I'm glad that it's not the support of an abstract Ukraine, but the support of [a real] Ukraine and Crimea, Crimean Tatars. Your song, which tells the story of your grandmother, her daughter when she was a child, the story of your people – this is so heart-wrenching that one cannot but support, vote and join the large-scale process of liberating Crimea," Poroshenko told the singer.

He shared that he was watching the Eurovision contest together with his family and was a fan of Jamala.

Poroshenko says he is sure that Jamala's victory will contribute to the quicker return of Crimea to Ukraine. "I can say that you've made an enormous contribution to Crimea's hitting the headlines," he said.

The Ukrainian president also said that he had instructed Ukraine's Foreign Ministry to nominate Susana Dzhamaladinova to a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. "I think it is hard to find a more worthy person than you are," he told Jamala.

The Ukrainian singer in turn said that she was extremely pleased to receive the award and enjoy such recognition. "I wrote this song because apparently I just could not be silent, because for long that story was stained with terrible insults to Crimean Tatars, and now to Ukrainians. I wanted to tell the truth," she added.

"Why has it worked, why has Europe reacted that way? This is because when you tell the truth, in a truthful voice and through genuine music, it really has no chance of not being understood. Music has an extraordinary influence on humankind," she said.

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