Can music quell political controversy?
The Israel Palestine conflict does not appear to be making much progress in terms of peace. The bloody feud stems from several political issues, the main one being the creation of Israel by the United States and other countries after World War II as a place for the persecuted Jewish population to live. That land was already occupied before the US and others carved out a piece of it for the persecuted Jewish people. The conflict between those who had lived there versus the new inhabitants has led to war.
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest took place on Saturday (May 18) night in Tel Aviv, Israel. Madonna was set to perform her new single, "Future" featuring Quavo, which she did. Quavo even made an appearance on stage as well. Prior to their performance, activists fighting for Israel to cease warring with the Palestinians urged the artists not to get on stage. According to Complex, several activists called for an international boycott of this year's Eurovision because it was hosted in Israel. Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd, asked Madonna not to perform at the event. "Some of my fellow musicians who have recently performed in Israel say they are doing it to build bridges and further the cause of peace. Bullshit," Waters wrote. "To perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalise the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters … all that bad stuff." Madonna responded with a message of her own.
"I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be," she said in a statement to Reuters. "My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace."
During Madonna's performance, one of her backup dancers wore the Palestinian flag, while another dressed in the Israeli flag. The two dancers then hugged each other toward the end of the performance, which was met with mixed reactions from the audience.