Crown The Witch: The Unpolitical Chaos of Eurovision 2024

Bambie Thug
Bambie Thug the most vocal participant against Israel's participation. a real winner tonight and #CrownTheWitch #Eurovision

Drama, Resignations, and Flag Parades: Eurovision’s Political Non-Event

Political Satire

While protests and petitions tried to ban Israel’s entry, the organisers insist the competition is apolitical. And of course, it’s true – Eurovision is not political…well, unless you’re Russian, in which case you’ve been banned from the competition since your little dust-up with Ukraine back in 2022. Some wars are politically incorrect, while others are free game, it seems.

However, no matter how fervently they try to perpetuate the lie, it’s been a chaotic Eurovision 2024 so far. Again, remember, none of it is political…

Tonight, the Eurovision Song Contest has been marked by a series of tumultuous events, all conveniently unrelated to Israel’s continued genocide in Gaza, where over 35,000 souls have been slaughtered in a mere six months, leaving the territory a smouldering pile of rubble.

Eurovision protest
Eurovision protest

And while most of Europe danced to the tune of ignorance some were brave enough to make a stance.

The Dutch participant was unceremoniously removed from the competition, while another opted out of rehearsals, and a third violated the sacrosanct regulations with an utterly scandalous peace-promoting speech on stage. Additionally, two past competitors withdrew from presenting their countries’ jury scores, no doubt overwhelmed by the emotional labour of numbering some spectacularly mediocre pop songs.

The Netherlands Songfestival said Klein had “repeatedly indicated” he did not want to be filmed and that he “did not touch the camera woman”.

These incidents were unfolding with all the dramatic flair of a Shakespearean tragedy, set against a backdrop of protests regarding Israel’s involvement in this shining beacon of European unity and non-politics.

During the final dress rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, French competitor Slimane deviated from the norm, pausing his song to deliver a heartfelt speech that would make the ghost of John Lennon weep tears of joy.

He beseeched the audience, “Every artist here aspires to sing about love and peace. We should be united by music, indeed, but also by a love for peace.” Scandalous stuff, clearly in contravention of Eurovision’s ironclad rules against political declarations that don’t involve bombing the Middle East back to the Stone Age.

Not to be outdone, reports from Norwegian media indicate their jury spokesperson, Allesandra Mele, has withdrawn due to the “heated situation” in Malmö. Last year, she represented Norway and secured fourth place with her song, “Queen of Kings” – a title she has seemingly renounced in favour of joining the enlightened republican movement.

In a video on Instagram, the former royalist proclaimed, “The reason music unites people is because of Eurovision’s motto – ‘United by music’. But at the moment, these words ring hollow.” Deep thoughts from the land that gave us philosophers of Kierkegaard and Ibsen’s calibre.

The Finnish jury’s spokesperson has also resigned, stating on Instagram that announcing the country’s points “doesn’t feel appropriate”. Kaarija, who finished second in last year’s competition, has withdrawn too, solemnly intoning, “I have chosen not to serve as the spokesperson for the Finnish jury in tonight’s Eurovision finale. Announcing the points doesn’t feel right.” Such moral fortitude in the land of a thousand lakes and ABBA tribute bands!

Following the disqualification of Joost Klein, the Dutch broadcaster announced it would not broadcast its jury scores on television, no doubt fearing a populist uprising if the public catches wind of their judges’ abject lack of taste.

There were also unverified reports that several participants opted out of Saturday’s dress rehearsal “flag parade”, likely after being triggered by excessive displays of national iconography. Truly, nothing riles the European psyche quite like symbolic representations of sovereignty!

These events marked a rocky beginning to what is typically a light-hearted and flamboyant celebration of European music and values like human rights, democracy, and utter contempt for the Geneva Conventions.

Only one singer had the guts to reject Europe’s collective delusion and make a genuine stance on the night. The sole brave soul to publicly call out the elephant in the room regarding Israel’s participation and the reported bullying of their delegation towards other contestants. It was none other than Bambie Thug, the delightfully anarchic Irish entry, who boldly displayed their “CEASEFIRE” message scrawled in Ogham code across their face during the Grand Final performance! The Kids of TikTok wasted no time in making #CROWNTHEWITCH trend furiously across social media.

Bambie thug

And in an outcome about as shocking as the sun rising in the east, the UK once again got the dreaded zero points from the public vote>. Just another edition of Europe uniting to reject Anglo-Saxon cultural hegemony through the mighty medium of camp Euro-pop.

France, Israel and Ukraine all looked like contenders early on, but of course it eventually devolved into a two-horse race between Switzerland and Croatia. Because what’s a celebration of European ideals without a bout of rampant fence-sitting?

But in the end, the winner was…Switzerland. A nation so committed to maintaining its posture of resolute neutrality that it would sooner lend its anthem to bland Eurovision novelty acts than take a stand against war crimes and ethnic cleansing on its very doorstep. I guess upholding the appearance of moral equivocation is just the price of admission to the insular world of Continental ennui.

Meanwhile, back in the Gaza Strip, reality hit with the brutal indifference of a bomb blast. As Europeans cheerfully unified over the inanity of a song contest, Israel ordered more evacuations as fighting intensified in Rafah. Flyers dropped from the skies and posts on social media instructed residents in the city’s eastern districts to flee to al-Mawasi – a narrow coastal area which the Israeli military so perversely dubs an “expanded humanitarian zone”.

While singers traded platitudes about building bridges, Palestinian families hastily abandoned their homes yet again, lives upended by the ceaseless thunder of artillery raining from the iron domes of their open-air prison. But such crass concerns surely disrupt the lofty discourse of Europeans adjudicating the merits of admittedly catchy dance-pop hooks.

Ultimately, Switzerland’s victory serves as a bitter reminder that for every struggle raised to the glaring spotlight of the international stage, there exists a concurrent desire to avert one’s eyes, to revel in the safety of willful ignorance. An empty triumph for the proselytisers of maintaining an unconscionable status quo.

How unspeakably dull. How bourgeoisly European. How…typically middle class it all is in the end. How decadent we have become.

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