Published May 10, 2019
Here is an unpopular opinion, at least among Icelanders: I have a lot of sympathy with the Israeli nation when it comes to the conflict with Hamas. The history is complicated, but at the end of the day, Israelis are trying to ensure the country’s safety. It’s not easy to live with the threat of an air missile striking anytime (and vice versa). We need to keep in mind that Isreal has lost a lot of lives in the war against the extremists in Palestine throughout the years, and keep in mind the Palestinians are also occupied by idiotic and dangerous domestic politics. No state has endured such an attack against their citizens.
That said, I fully condemn the way Israel has treated the Palestinian nation and the thousands of lives that have been lost in this mindless war.
There haven’t been democratic elections in Palestine since 2005. The Palestinian nation is occupied by one of the strongest military states in the world as well as the thug extremists of Hamas. There is no justification to bomb the Palestinian nation so viciously because of the acts of an extremist party. Both nations suffer from bad politics. The Likud party’s interests and those of Hamas are tied together: in war.
My sympathies lies with the people of Israel and Palestine; not with the fear mongering politics of the Likud party or the criminality of Hamas. Both are guilty of war crimes. Both are guilty of fuelling this terror, and people on both sides are paying the ultimate price.
In the midst of this clash, you have the most glitter-fuelled song contest in the world, Eurovision, taking place just 70 kilometers away from the suffering of the Palestinian nation.
Iceland’s contribution is the controversial performance of the nihilistic post-apocalyptic-anti-capitalistic-BDSM band Hatari. They have been criticised for participating in the competition, while that criticism should rightly be directed at the Icelandic government, and state broadcaster RÚV.
So how do you go and perform for hundreds of millions, in these fireworks of tacky pop music, with all this suffering just an arm’s length away? You raise your voice and point out that it is not normal. In that way, Hatari is like the child in the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” They highlight the hypocrisy of the whole affair. The local rules are to smile and to pretend there is nothing going on. Hatari have refused to do that. And it is a noble stand in a complicated situation. It’s a peaceful form of protest.
I know it’s easy to say that the reality of the Middle East is far from the Icelandic one, and that it is impossible for us to understand. But we know something better than most nations in the world, and that is peace. And we know that peace is not a given. Not for a small island with no army, nor a borderline army state like Israel that have suffered from persecution throughout time. And we know that one of the most important ground rules for peace is to listen and to have a democratic discussion. Hatari sings about the hate that will prevail if that doesn’t happen. If hate is the only thing you can hear when listening to the song, that will probably be the outcome.
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