Belarus Eurovision song entry ‘I’ll Teach You’ rejected due to alleged pro-Lukashenko lyrics

Belarus Eurovision song entry ‘I’ll Teach You’ rejected due to alleged pro-Lukashenko lyrics

12 March 2021

The Belarus song for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest entry has been rejected by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for what it says are politically-charged lyrics.

EBU made the announcement on 11 March, arguing that the song “I’ll Teach You”, by the band Galasy ZMesta, “puts the non-political nature of the contest in question”. EBU asked Belarus’s national state broadcaster, Belteleradio, to “take all necessary steps to submit a modified version, or a new song”, or the song will be disqualified.

“I’ll Teach You” was selected as Belarus’s entry under unclear conditions, with no public vote.

The band, which is vocal about its support for Alexander Lukashenko, and critical of his opponents and protesters, call the song “folk satire”. Galasy ZMesta was formed against the backdrop of the anti-government protests in Belarus, and their slogan is “When under the sauce of “political struggle” they are trying to destroy the country we love and in which we live, we cannot remain indifferent.”

The opposition interprets the lyrics of the song, “I’ll teach you to dance to the tune/ I’ll teach you to peck at the bait/ I’ll teach you to walk on a string/ You will be happy and glad about everything” as the government’s call to discourage the mass protests that have swept the country since August, when Lukashenko became president for a sixth term, despite widespread evidence that elections were rigged.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets, and thousands have been imprisoned and tortured by the police. At the moment, according to human rights watchdog Viasna96, there are 279 political prisoners in Belarus.

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