In the past couple of days, there has been a huge reaction in North Macedonia over the selected song for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. At first, the negative reactions were not due to the song, but due to the video clip showing a triptych resembling the colors of the Bulgarian flag. The video was taken down, and re-edited in order not to contain the beforementioned triptych, but the situation does not seem to be settling.
Vasil Garvanliev is a musician from North Macedonia, who also holds the citizenship of Bulgaria (his grandma is from the territory of today’s Bulgaria), something that is legal and accepted in North Macedonia. Due to the political situation between the two countries, Vasil’s second nationality unfortunately became an issue as well. In a heartfelt video he posted on his Facebook profile, in between other things, Vasil said:
I am a music ambassador, and in music there is no religion, politics, orientation, race or color. I had absolutely no intentions to hurt anybody. Quite the opposite! I am so proud of this project which not only embodies me, but my country and culture – musicians and featured artists in the gallery. I do not apologize for being me. I never will – I didn’t have a choice in that. However, if I hurt ANYBODY in ANY WAY, from the bottom of my heart … I am sorry. Forgive me.
This would not be the first time that Vasil is representing his home country, North Macedonia, in the Eurovision Song Contest. He was a backing singer for Tamara Todevska in 2019, when the song “Proud” won the jury vote in the Grand Final, and achieved North Macedonia’s best ever result in the Eurovision history – 7th place.
In 2021 there is no place for nationalism and homophobia, especially not when it comes to music. Macedonia was represented at Eurovision by singers of different ethnicities and that is our advantage. The politicization of Eurovision must stop from the side of those people who insult and unjustifiably spread hate speech.
We strongly believe that Vasil needs to get his chance in Eurovision, and represent his country with his selected song “Here I Stand”. Eurovision is NOT the place for any political sparks and battles, nor the place where politicians should be scoring their points. Eurovision is a place for sharing your music with the world, a place where every artist from every country is equal, and a place where music, friendships and healthy competition stand – not politics!
When we formed ESCBubble we did so to recognize the things we all have in common – mainly our shared love of music, international friendship, and this great Contest. We like to invite all that is positive into our bubble, and we ask that all hatred and bullying is left behind!
Vasil, we stand with you!