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Bambie Thug shares cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’, shares “prayers for Palestine” as they speak out on Eurovision censorship

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Ireland’s Eurovision entry Bambie Thug has shared an eerie cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’ and spoken out in support of Palestine ahead of this weekend’s finale.

The non-binary singer will be representing Ireland at the final of the song contest in Malmö, Sweden, and has become Ireland’s first finalist since 2018. They won their place in Saturday’s final (May 11) with a performance of ‘Doomsday Blue’ at Tuesday’s (May 7) semi-finals.

They have been listed as in the top 10 favourites to win the competition this year, and told NME that they are hoping to “give the best performance I can and try to connect in those three minutes to those millions of viewers”.

That being said, there has been pressure on contestants, including Thug and UK representative Olly Alexander, to boycott the event in solidarity with Palestine. In a collective statement, the two reaffirmed their pro-Palestine stance whilst announcing they would not boycott.

However, the singer has been vocal about their support for those in Gaza, and was recently forced to change their pro-Palestine message by the competition’s organisers.

The decision came after they wore body paint in Ogham script – an early Mediaeval alphabet – which translated to ceasefire and freedom, but was later revealed to have “contravened contest rules that are designed to protect the non-political nature of the event”.

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.”

Now, they have shared an eerie cover of the classic Cranberries track ‘Zombie’, and reaffirmed their support for those suffering in Palestine.

The song was originally written in 1994 by Dolores O’Riordan, and was about the younger victims of a bombing in England, amid the conflict in Northern Ireland. It went on to become one of the band’s most iconic tracks.

“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.”

It continued: “After my first dress rehearsal I was asked to remove both free Palestine and ceasefire in Ogham from my outfit. My delegation and I fought against this and the EBU eventually agreed to letting ceasefire remain. About an hour before my call time I was informed that they had an internal meeting and ceasefire was no longer acceptable, and if I didn’t remove this I would not be allowed on stage.

“I am pro-justice and pro-peace and this will never change, I only hope with a platform I can reach more peoples ears. My heart and prayers are with the people of Palestine #eyesonrafah and to be clear being pro-Palestinian does not mean I am antisemitic, it means I am anti-war, anti-occupation, anti-oppression and anti-killing of innocent civilians and children!!”

The caption ended: “Everyone born into this world should have the right to a home, safety, water, food, freedom and compassion. We must continue to strive to lead with love and look past our differences and remember that under our skin we are one human race and one spirit. Wake up world it is never too late to regain your conscience and admit that change must be made in the name of love.”

The post comes after the singer spoke to NME about navigating the controversy around Eurovision 2024.

“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,” they said.

“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.”

There have been a number of calls to boycott the competition from various countries. Over 1,000 Swedish artists called for Israel to be banned this year, including Robyn, Fever Ray, and First Aid Kit, whilst over 1,400 Finnish music industry professionals have signed a petition to ban the country from taking part of the contest as well.

Israel is still set to compete in the 2024 event, and contestant Eden Golan recently reflected on the boos from the audience during her semi-final dress rehearsal, stating that “nothing will deter” her from representing Israel at the competition.

The country made headlines recently after they stirred controversy with their entry song. Originally titled ‘October Rain’, the song appeared to contain references to the victims of Hamas’ October 7 attacks and was barred from performance due to breaking rules on political neutrality.

Though Israel originally threatened to withdraw from the competition if any changes were to be made, a call from Israeli president Isaac Herzog for “necessary adjustments” to ensure Israel’s participation prompted their public broadcaster KAN to agree to amend the song. On March 9, Israel was confirmed to compete after changes were made to the lyrics and the song’s title was changed to ‘Hurricane’.

Eurovision organisers have confirmed that they reserve the right to remove Palestinian flags and pro-Palestinian symbols during this year’s final, and have again defended their decision not to boycott Israel over the war in Gaza.

All contestants have been barred by regulations from making any political statements on stage, and fans in the audience are banned from displaying any flag outside of the countries competing in the competition.

In the first half of the semi-finals (May 7), opening act Palestinian-Swedish singer Eric Saade — who had previously criticised the decision to ban Palestinian flags – wore a Palestinian keffiyeh around his wrist as a form of protest. This was later condemned by the EBU (via Times Of Israel).

The outlet also reported that Australian musician Fred Leone wore body paint on stage resembling a watermelon, as an act of solidarity with the Palestinians.

The second wave of semi-finals will be held in Sweden tonight (May 9), with the finale taking place on Saturday (May 11). You can check out the odds for the contestants here.

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