On Tuesday, broadcaster BTRC announced that Galasy ZMesta would represent Belarus at Eurovision 2021 with the song “Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You)”. The EBU have now put out a statement saying that the song is not eligible to compete in the contest in its current state as it “puts the non-political nature of the Contest in question”. They have requested that BTRC submit a modified version or a new song, otherwise they will face disqualification.
The statement was issued through the official Eurovision Twitter account and via the eurovision.tv news blog.
EBU requests Belarus modify its Eurovision 2021 entry or face disqualification
The EBU’s statement reads as follows:
“As part of the regular procedure for all songs submitted to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), the EBU has carefully scrutinized the Belarusian song, Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You) by Galasy ZMesta to ensure it complies with the rules of the competition.
It was concluded that the song puts the non-political nature of the Contest in question.
In addition, recent reactions to the proposed entry risk bringing the reputation of the ESC into disrepute.
We’ve written to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’ entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, to inform them that the song, in its present form, is currently not eligible to compete.
Furthermore we’ve requested that they take all necessary steps to submit a modified version, or a new song, that is compliant with the ESC rules.
Failure to do so could result in disqualification from this year’s Contest.”
Statement from the EBU regarding Belarus’ Eurovision Song Contest 2021 entry. pic.twitter.com/q25Eh80Plx
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) March 11, 2021
Why does Galasy ZMesta’s song break Eurovision rules?
In the statement issued by the EBU, they say that Galasy ZMesta’s song “puts the non-political nature of the Contest in question”. This is a reference to the Eurovision rules that require the event to be non-political on all terms.
In regards to the competing songs at the contest, rule 2.7(i) states:
“The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows, the ESC as such or the EBU into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC.”
Since it’s release on Tuesday, “Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You)” has been criticised by many for breaking the above rule. The exact reason for this is related to the ongoing political situation in Belarus, which started in 2020 when pro-democracy protests erupted across the country following the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. These elections have been widely condemned by the international community, including by the European Union.
For more information in regards to the political situation in Belarus and how it is affecting musical artists in the country, please see the below article:
Some of the lyrics of Galasy ZMesta’s “Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You)” read as follows in English:
I’ll teach you how to dance under my pipe
I’ll teach you how to bite the fishing rod
I’ll teach you how to walk on a string
I will compose music especially for you
I’ll bring you a world on a saucer
I will transform your sorrows into jokes
It will be better for you
The lyrics have been interpreted by many as a form of pro-Lukashenko propaganda. Fans read the lyrics as a critique of the protests and as political support for the current regime.
The lyrics discuss how the main character should not “stop being angry”, a common trope used by pro-government media to portray protesters as angry hooligans. The lyrics furthermore talk about “teaching” or “telling” someone what to do in order to return to “normal life” and how the main character should listen to that, another common trope found in pro-governmental narratives.
This sentiment is added to by the fact that Galasy ZMesta have established themselves as singers of “political pop”, as they call it themselves, and have criticised the pro-democracy protests in most, if not all, their songs.
On their official site, the group write:
“Dear friends! When “under a sauce” “political battles” try to break the country we love and in which we are living, we cannot stay indifferent…”
As a result of the above, the EBU have decided that the song does not meet the criteria for being non-political and is therefore not eligible to compete at Eurovision. They have written to Belarus’ national broadcaster BTRC requesting that they submit a modified version of the song, or an entirely new entry, which does comply with the rules.
If BTRC is unable to submit an eligible song, they will be disqualified from Eurovision 2021.
What are your thoughts on the EBU’s statement? Let us know in the comments below.