A few days ago, the Israeli ambassador to Budapest objected over the staging of Boggie’s song “Wars For Nothing”. At A Dal, Hungary’s national selection, the background visuals mentioned the 2014 Gaza conflict. Boggie has now reacted on Facebook, clearing the air and making assurances that the respective sentence will not be shown in Vienna.
At the 1:36 mark in the video of Boggie’s performance in the A Dal final below, one can read the following sentence (in Hungarian): “2014 – Gaza – two-thirds of the victims were civilians, including more than 500 children.” The sentence makes reference to the Operation Protective Edge carried out by Israel in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. According to news reports, the Israel-Gaza conflict resulted in the deaths of over 2,100 people, the vast majority of them Gazan civilians, according to the United Nations. Sixty-six Israeli soldiers and seven civilians also died.
The respective mention was seen as offensive by Ilan Mor, the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, who turned to the Hungarian broadcasting authority, expressed his country’s reservations over the planned song and asked that the sentence be removed. Although Israel isn’t mentioned by name in the song, the ambassador asked Hungarian broadcaster MTVA to eliminate the mention of the Gaza war, explaining that it is seen as an “inconvenient” political message against Israel.
Boggie issued the following statement on Facebook:
Online media has written about the Israeli ambassador in Hungary calling MTVA to remove a sentence about the victims of the war in Gaza from the background visuals of my song. Although I tried to avoid making a statement about a debate that is not my own, I feel I have no other choice as it has an influence on my song for the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.
I love ’Wars for Nothing’. I am really proud of it. I strongly believe in the power of my song, and that the world needs such songs. It makes me incredibly sad that someone interprets a song that is written about and for peace as an attack against any nation. The song is not only about peace but also about our inner fights and our ability to face our faults and take responsibility for our actions.
According to the feedback after the semi-finals in Hungary, the overflowing background text drew attention from the singers, but unfortunately it was not possible to change it during A Dal 2015. The new background will be based on animation instead of words.
The moodboard for the new background video was prepared and delivered to the production crew in Vienna on 15 March at the ESC 2015 Heads of Delegation meeting two weeks ago; well before any objection about the previous video was made. Thus there is no need to call on MTVA to take any further steps.
I would love to hope that artistic freedom exists in the 21st century. I have been singing for a better world all my life, regardless of anyone’s worldview or nationality and I will continue to do so in the future.
The European Broadcasting Union rules for the Eurovision Song Contest specifically state that competing songs should be void of political messages, although peace songs are allowed. Do you think that this debacle is hurting Hungary’s chances in Vienna? Or, on the contrary, the attention it gets now is actually beneficial to Boggie’s song and message? Could it be a war over nothing? Sound off below!
Photo: Nikolett Penziás