Bambie Thug at the Eurovision

A platform for debate?

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – Finn McRedmond takes Ireland’s Eurovision entrant, Bambie Thug, to task for writing “Ceasefire” and “Saoirse don Phalaistín” in Ogham on their face and legs (“Bambie Thug should not have been making statements on Ireland’s behalf”, Opinion, May 16th).

Ní aontaím le Finn. To write a political slogan in Ogham, our ancient, tree-based language, and to have it seen by millions of viewers is an act of genius.

Fair play to ye Bambie. Ar aghaidh libh! – Yours etc,

CONALL Mac RIOCAIRD,

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Ard Aidhinn,

Dublin.

Sir, – As a scholar of Irish cultural policy (and a Eurovision fan), I read with dismay Finn McRedmond’s article on Bambie Thug at the Eurovision.

There is a sinister paradox in invoking artistic freedom, only to withdraw it when an artist is given a national or international platform such as Eurovision. This is a regression to a toxic form of artistic censorship that prevailed for decades and decades in this country, and drove many artists away.

Bambie Thug’s approach to Eurovision embodied many of the best qualities I see in many young people: artistic integrity and imagination; openness to a diversity of identity and feeling; commitment to care for themselves and others; principled compassion; professionalism and poise. These qualities should be celebrated, and Bambie Thug’s phenomenal success and individuality praised to the skies. Their contribution to Eurovision is exactly what Ireland is, and should be. – Yours, etc,

EMILY MARK-FITZGERALD,

Associate professor, School of Art History and Cultural Policy,

University College Dublin.

Sir, – I agree with Finn Mc Redmond’s view that while Bambie Thug gave a wonderful performance as Ireland’s entry to Eurovision, it was not their place to criticise Eurovision or the European Broadcasting Union. During the contest one of the comperes announced that there were only three rules for participating: the song must be original; no more than three minutes; and the singer must be over 16. The aim is to find the best song. It is not a forum for political discussions or personal opinions. I was disappointed to find the contest used as a platform for debate. – Yours, etc,

SIOBHÁN DENHAM,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

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