French duo, Madame Monsieur were recently picked to represent the country at the glitzy talent competition with a song titled “Mercy”, named after the migrant baby girl.
The band was recording in the studio when they saw a picture of Mercy posted on Twitter. “We were completely overwhelmed and as we were in the middle of the writing process, we thought ‘This is a beautiful story to tell,’” band member Emilie Satt said.
“I think we were moved by this story of hope among hopelessness, that’s what’s interesting. The symbolism was very strong. A birth in the middle of a tragedy like that moved us and that’s the story we wanted to tell,” Jean -Karl Lucas, another member of the band said.
In the last two years, NGO SOS Mediterranee has picked up more than 28,000 people fleeing war and poverty attempting to reach Europe, including Mercy’s mother, Taiwo from Nigeria.
Heavily pregnant when she was rescued, she gave birth to the baby on March 21, 2017 as the ship that rescued them, the Aquarius, entered the port of Catania in Sicily.
“She (Mercy’s mother) was lying on the floor and she was in labour. So me and the midwife Elizabeth took care of her and four hours later she delivered a perfect baby girl called Mercy,” recalled Martina Svensson, a nurse who help deliver Mercy.
The boss of the NGO’s French division, Francis Vallat, said he was proud that the French public had chosen the song.
“It may show some countries whose people are more narrow-minded, even though they’re less exposed to migration than countries in the south, that they are involved too, it’s a human problem, simple as that,” he said.
Madame Monsieur say the song is not overtly political but simply tells a human story.
The finals of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Lisbon on May 12 but before that, the duo will release their album “Vu d’ici” (“Seen from here”) in April.
The last time France won first place in the contest was in 1977.