Annie Lennox calls Gaza crisis ‘heartbreaking’ as she repeats call for ceasefire

The iconic Scottish musician spoke to The Independent ahead of an event honouring the music of songwriting duo Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Katie Hawkinson
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,Michelle Del Rey
Thursday 21 March 2024 20:18 GMT
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As Annie Lennox walked down the red carpet at the Library’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song event honouring Elton John and Bernie Taupin, she sported a familiar accessory: a red pin with a golden hand.

The Scottish singer and songwriter was more than happy to tell The Independent about the pin, which signals her support for a permanent, humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

“I’m very happy to share this, I’m very proud to do this. This is Artists for Peace,” Ms Lennox told The Independent, referencing her pin. “It’s part of a community of creative people like myself and actors and musicians who really want to see a permanent ceasefire.”

Lennox made waves when she called for a ceasefire during her in-memoriam performance for Irish musical icon Sinead O’Connor.

“Artists for ceasefire! Peace in the world!” Lennox shouted at the end of her February performance, raising her fist.

She called Israel’s campaign in Gaza “heartbreaking.”

Annie Lennox performs at the 2024 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song tribute concert honoring Elton John and Bernie Taupin (AP)

“It’s got to the point now where the whole world is looking at this with such horror,” Lennox told The Independent. “[The pin] is to say, ‘peace, peace for everyone,’ just to be sensible about this. It’s a complicated issue, and I know that. But, it is absolutely heartbreaking to see what’s happening in Gaza right now.”

On 7 October, Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking 250 hostage. Since then, Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, and world organizations like the United Nations are warning of an imminent famine for the Palestinian people.

In the spirit of honouring John and Taupin on Wednesday evening, Lennox told The Independent that the British icon’s long history of spearheading HIV/Aids activism has been a great inspiration to her.

“It’s just huge,” Lennox said. “I think Britain can be super proud of Elton and [David Furnish] and what they’ve done — not just in the field of HIV, but also for the LGBTQ community ... I’m just kind of amazed by them, really.”

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The Elton John AIDS Foundation, established in the US over 30 years ago, has raised over $600m for those living with HIV/Aids.

The performance featured a tribute to Ryan White, who died in 1990 at 18 years old after contracting HIV. John wrote a tribute letter to Ryan 20 years after his death, honouring their friendship — Ryan’s sister read portions of the letter to the audience.

“I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV,” the musical icon wrote.

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