by Niall Walker
Globalvision are a collection of Palestinian artists running a counter-celebration to tonight's Eurovision Song Contest. The Radical Art Review met up with them to find out what's in store...
Tonight, the eyes of a continent will be tuned to Tel Aviv, as, for the first time, Israel play host to Europe’s most flamboyantly tone deaf. Though the programme’s history is chequered with political controversy, this year’s competition has touted controversy like no other.
The spectacle hangs over a backdrop of occupation, with 400 000 illegal settlements in the West Bank being enforced by a brutal military regime. In Gaza, aerial bombings continue on hospitals and schools, children are imprisoned, and a near permanent blockade has left over a million people on the brink of starvation in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.
On a night where the chorus’ of the performers attempt to drown out the bombs on the border, a group of Palestinian artists, musicians and comedians are hosting a counter-celebration: Globalvision. “This is a unique moment”, Saskia, one of the event’s organisers, told the Radical Art Review, “to use Eurovision’s incredible platform for diversity and inclusion as a way to shine a light onto the occupation of Palestine”.
Palestinian sovereignty is being encroached upon with ever more ferocious speed. In the past two years, Israel’s chief financial and military backers, the United States, have officially recognised Jerusalem as the state’s new capital, as well as the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Eurovision 2019 symbolises Europe’s complicit support for a regime that flouts international law on a consistent basis.
Almost parodically, calls for a boycott have been met by a joint letter from celebrities calling such actions an “attack” and a “weapon”. “Eurovision is a unifying event” claim, among others, Stephen Fry, Rachel Riley and Sharon Osbourne, “crucial to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together”. That no Palestinian artists have been invited is willfully ignored.
Globalvision aims to shine a light on the hypocrisy of this narrative. “Art is essential to breaking barriers, occupations and walls” writes Saskia. “We want to platform the incredible Palestinian contemporary music coming from the region”.
This promises to be more than just a boycott. Alongside the premiere of a new Brian Eno track, Saskia tells us that Globalvision will include “amazing hip-hop from Palestine, folk music from Dublin, grime from London, and everything in between!”
You can watch tonight's performance on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/598295044022887/
Also follow our live twitter updates during tonight's performance! https://twitter.com/radical_review