Belarus song removed from Eurovision final (again)
There is still room for a new competitor, but the country is repeating itself in this situation.
Pro-regime band disqualified.
They are called GalaxyZMesta. The name may even be unknown in Europe, but they are the protagonists of the recent controversy in the world of Eurovision, all thanks to their song “I will teach you”. The song was removed from the competition – but it is only the last Belarusian song that was removed from the finals. The decision was announced on Friday March 12th.
The band in question is a supporter of the dictator Alexander Lukashenko, a dictator who has ruled Belarus for 26 years and who faced some of the most audible protests last year after another election suspected of fraud.
The GalaxyZMesta are supporters of Lukashenko and have already publicly accepted on their website that they cannot remain “indifferent” to protests for freedom and democracy in the country and accused opponents of the dictatorship of trying to “divide the country”.
The band’s ideas could have escaped Eurovision’s sieve, but when the lyrics have political contours, the rules of competition allow the music to be eliminated. This was done with “I will teach you”, a song which, as The Guardian explains, contains verses that seem to mock the thousands of people who have been forcibly arrested and oppressed by the Belarusian authorities for subscribing to it Opposed regime.
Dmitry Butakov, singer of the band and former translator for the armed forces, defended that the music was satirical and that he did not speak openly about the protests. Nevertheless, the Eurovision organization has withdrawn from the competition that this year will take place in Rotterdam after a year of hiatus due to the pandemic (and where Portugal will be represented by Tatanka and The Black Mamba).
For its part, the European Broadcasting Union claims to have “carefully examined” the song and believes it “calls into question the apolitical nature of the competition”. GalaxyZMesta’s music was selected by the Belarusian state broadcaster.
This isn’t the only controversial song this year. The Russian participant is from Manizha, Tajikistan, which was the target of a xenophobic social media campaign. In Cyprus, the Orthodox Church protested against the election of Elena Tsagrinous “El Diablo” and accused the song of promoting Satanism. However, the two songs will go to competition.
Belarus, on the other hand, is a repeaters when it comes to change. And this happened both on the initiative of the country and through exclusion from the organization. In 2005 the song “Boys and Girls” by Angelica Agurbash was replaced due to negative public reactions. The singer went on with another song but didn’t make it past the semifinals. In 2010 the same thing happened with “Far away” from 3 + 2. The band changed music (went to the finals with “Butterflies”, but took 22nd place). And in 2013 again with Alyona Lanskaya with “Rythm of Love” (“Solayoh” was the new song and took 16th place).
In 2012, the same singer had already been disqualified by Eurovision on suspicion of fraud on television with the song “All My Life”. A year earlier, in 2011, another disqualification, this time for Anastasiya Vinnikova and “I Am Bielorrussian”, when the song was previously released. In 2014 another song could go to Eurovision, but with changes to the lyrics. With “Cheesecake” by TEO, the original version contained a verse relating to Google Maps.