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Bambie Thug calls on Eurovision organisers to “show some humanity” over political issues impacting contest

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Bambie Thug has called on Eurovision organisers to “show some humanity” over its handling of political issues as controversy related to Israel’s inclusion continues.

The conversation around this year’s edition of the singing competition has been dominated by the controversial decision not to ban Israel from the contest despite the ongoing situation in Gaza, with many fans vowing to boycott Eurovision this year as a result.

Israel is being represented by Eden Golan with the song ‘Hurricane’. Her qualification into the final came shortly after thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in the streets of Malmö, Sweden, where the contest is being held, to show their support for Gaza. She was booed during dress rehearsals and was booed again, this time with a mix of cheering as well, during the semi-finals on Thursday (May 9).

The move has been criticised as “cultural cover and endorsement for the catastrophic violence that Israel has unleashed on Palestinians” by organisations such as Queers for Palestine, who wrote an open letter to UK entry Olly Alexander to boycott the contest this year.

Now, Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug has spoken out about the EBU’s handling of the situation, admitting that they “cried with their team” when they found out Israel had qualified for the final.

They added that the EBU needed to focus on “gaining some heart and some conscience and some humanity” relating to any future political issues affecting the contest and that they felt protests and calls for Israel to be banned from competing was “completely overshadowing” the contest [via Sky News].

They said: “It’s an incredibly intense atmosphere, you know… I don’t think it’s sitting well with any of the contestants, to be honest.”

Bambie also voiced concerns that Ireland might lose out on votes due to the boycott.

“I’m fearful that we will miss a lot of votes because of the boycotting, and that those then will make someone else have more of a chance to win,” they said. “I don’t think it should, but there are 200 million viewers.”

The artist said earlier this week that they had been forced to change their pro-Palestine message painted onto their body as part of their costume. Originally, they wore body paint in Ogham script – an early Medieval alphabet – which translated to ceasefire and freedom. It came as a nod to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and in light of Israel’s inclusion in the competition.

According to a spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the paint “contravened contest rules that are designed to protect the non-political nature of the event” (via Evening Standard).

Speaking of the change, Bambie Thug said: “It was very important for me because I’m pro-justice and pro-peace. Unfortunately, I had to change those messages today to ‘crown the witch’ only (which was an) order from the EBU.”

They also spoke to NME about navigating the controversy, saying: “It’s a lot when I know that my heart is in the right place and when it’s not my decision. I have had to take a break from social media because it is weighing on me. A lot of stuff is completely nasty and uncalled for.

“People should be coming for the EBU and for the broadcasters, not us as artists,” they added. “I stand by my statement and I am completely for Palestine, and I think it’s ridiculous that it’s gone on for so long. I think the world is quite removed from its heart and its consciousness right now.”

Earlier this week, Bambie covered  The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’ and spoken out in support of Palestine.

“History repeats in rhyme until we learn the lesson,” Bambie Thug began in the caption, sharing the cover on Instagram. “An important piece of music that needs to be remembered and is sadly still so relevant to our world today. I know many of you have varying opinions on my position at the moment but I am truly doing everything in my power that I can to support.”

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