Solidarity With Palestine: Miss Greece Boycotts Miss Universe Pageant For Being Held In Israel
Sympathizing with the current Palestinian situation feels like an ongoing sting in the heart. You don’t need an Arab ID to feel their pain. It only takes a humanistic instinct, to disdain and refuse the routine of death that Palestinians have grown accustomed to. That’s why, Miss Universe Greece, Rafaele Plastira, has officially announced her withdrawal from the upcoming Israeli hosted Miss Universe.
“I can’t go up on stage and act like nothing’s happening when people are fighting for their lives out there,” Rafaele said in a social post. “My dear supporters, I, unfortunately, have to announce something that hurt my heart. I feel the need to give you all an explanation” – she started her announcement. “I will not be attending Miss Universe this year and the reason for that is the country.”
Africa4Palestine, Africa’s largest pro-Palestine group, also hailed Plastira’s heroic stance. The Greek contestant received so much support and kudos, as she gave up a huge event and a childhood dream, in solidarity with Palestine.
Rafaele Plastira made another social post expressing her delight in the support she received following her withdrawal decision. “Humanity is above beauty pageants” is a statement which many in the industry need to be reminded of.
“Palestine you are not only in my mind every day but you have the most beautiful place in my heart forever. My guardian angels are there when needed. I will always keep praying for all of you! I didn’t expect this love and support. I finally see real souls with clean hearts. I feel it. I am disappointed in Miss Universe for this! It was a childhood dream for me but I really don’t care. I CARE about my people,”
Wrote Rafaele Plastira.
Upon her withdrawal, she was shortly replaced with Katerina Kouvoutsaki for the pageant, but organizers last week named a new representative, as Kouvoutsaki, too, had to withdraw but for health reasons. And, currently runner-up Sofia Arapogianni would replace Kouvoutsaki at the Israeli held event.
Calls for South Africa to boycott the international pageant grew louder as well. Earlier this month, news regarding Miss South Africa withdrawing from this year’s Miss Universe, spiralled. A Palestinian statement welcomed the intended withdrawal of Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane from the Miss Universe pageant.
However, this news was later denied. As the CEO of Miss South Africa Organization, Stephanie Weil, made an announcement on behalf of Miss South Africa, that Miss Lalela Mswane will still proceed. An announcement that the organization later described in a press statement as a “disappointing U-turn” and a “clear support to the apartheid state of Israel, by defending the indefensible.”