A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Eruption Pollution Likely To Hit Whole Country

The Voice Of The Resistance

Published July 25, 2003

Anyone who read John Boyce’s article on the media (issue 2) should have realised that said media are not to be trusted. It seems that in the information society we are bombarded by the media 24/7, all of it telling us the same thing, and ultimately, is seems, owned by the same people. Where Iceland only a decade ago had almost a dozen newspapers, it now has only three. But the truth, as the saying goes, is out there. You just need to know where to look, and ignore the headlines.

In the communist countries the strategy of the powers that be was to keep information about the outside world from the masses. This failed completely. In capitalist ones, the strategy of whomever it is who ultimately runs things seems to be to saturate us with information until we become numb to it all (would pictures of starving children in Ethiopia elicit the same response as it did even in 1984, now that horrors are brought into our living room every night). Our only non-violent response to this is to point out where alternative sources of information, not run by corporate interests, can be found.

The internet is still a free forum for opinions. Anyone can use it to say whatever he wants. However, it is so vast that all opinions almost have the effect of cancelling each other out. It is hence our duty to point out the sites that are saying something that sounds like a reasonable approximation of truth. One of these is Apsaras Review. It is run by someone up in Akureyri called Paul Fontaine-Nikolov, who claims the idea came to him when he was a drug smuggler in Tangiers in ’47, while drinking with William Burroghs. Whether this story is historically accurate or not is of no consequence, what is important is that the company, Kremena Publishing, is currently looking for new talent to publish in its netzine. It´s aim is twofold, to help unknown writers be heard, and to use the proceeds to help organisations such as Amnesty International, United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF ) and Cambodian Mine Action Center. If tha’´s not worthwhile, then at least it beats sheepshagging. Their current issue includes everything from a first person account inside an aircraft carrier in the 91 Gulf War, to an interview with a member of the Icelandic Left-Green Party.

The mag’s manifesto sounds something like: “What I would like to see accomplished with the help of Apsaras Review is that every-day people from around the world can come here and express their point of view about what’s going on around them, that other people around the world can respond to them, and that this forum grows in both strength and volume. Dialogue can lead to understanding, understanding can lead to unity, and unity can take us anywhere. All the power in “running the world” only seems to belong to the wealthy and the politicians. The fact is, we run the world. Our labour, our taxes, our presence (or lack thereof) at the polls, our military service–what else do the powerful rest upon but this? The distance between the rulers and the ruled is much shorter than it seems; they sit upon our very shoulders, and can be put on the earth with as little effort as it takes to shrug. Of course, such an action will never be possible without a little solidarity. I hope Apsaras Review can contribute to just such a solidarity.”

Send your submissions to: www.kremenapublishing.com, or read the thing at: www.kremenapublishing.com/ar10259x35.html.



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News In Brief: Early September

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Remember last issue when we complained that the Bárðarbunga volcano was a huge disappointment for not having the decency to erupt? Well, apparently the volcano gods read the Grapevine, because a huge fissure opened up in Holuhraun and began spewing forth some very photogenic magma. Icelanders were quick to ask the most important question: What are we going to name the new lava field when all is said and done? The jury’s still out on that one, but for now, this is proving to be the ideal volcanic situation: pretty lava, no airplane-choking ash clouds and no one hurt or

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Why You Can’t Go See The Eruption

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In the middle of the night on Saturday, August 16, an intense swarm of seismic activity began in the area of Bárðarbunga—one of many central volcanoes nobody can pronounce—under Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Since that day, my co-workers and I at the Icelandic Meteorological Office (aka the IMO) have been working day and night to monitor the activity, holding daily meetings with the Civil Protection services, and trying to figure out the possible outcomes of these events, which might just be the start of something a lot bigger. When the activity began, it was incredible how we could follow the

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A Volcano Bigger Than Timberlake

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The most prominent, truly devastating volcanic eruption in Icelanders’ public memory is arguably the late-18th century eruption in the volcanic ridge Lakí, followed by the Móðuharðindi, two years of all-over brutal hardships. The sky went dark, and the sun faded, while ashes destroyed pastures, and temperatures sank, leading to the death of an estimated 75% of the country’s livestock and a fifth of its human population. Then there was the late-19th century eruption, after which a fifth of the island’s populace moved to Canada. The ashes from the sudden 1973 eruption in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago destroyed 400 homes. One person

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“What A Hard Life Is That Of The Poor Icelanders!”

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One day in August 1888, the British steamer ‘Camoens’ docked in the town of Akureyri in Northern Iceland. The ‘Camoens’-for some reason named for Portugal’s national poet, Luís de Camões- sailed regularly between Scotland and Iceland with passengers and cargo. Debarking the ‘Camoens’ that day was a group of British friends, three young men and two women, on their annual autumn holiday, fresh from a busy summer of high society parties and picnics. They came to Iceland looking for adventure and experiences, and—not the least—to be different from their friends and acquaintances, who mostly chose the more fashionable Switzerland and

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Iceland On The Brain: 1200 Years Of Tourism

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Everyone knows that Ingólfur Arnarson (that chap with the spear thing on the hill overlooking the city centre) was Iceland’s first settler. But, he was not the first person to set foot upon it. A few years before the settlement, which is assumed to have started in 874, a Swede named Garðar arrived, naming the place Garðarshólmur before abruptly leaving again (thankfully, modern-day Swedish tourists no longer feel entitled to go around naming the country after themselves). Not long after, a Norwegian named Hrafna-Flóki (“Raven-Flóki”) arrived to spend an entire winter on the island and, not much impressed, subsequently re-named

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Workers Unite!

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Earlier this month, a news story broke in the Icelandic media that a young Icelandic woman working at Lebowski Bar was fired after she asked to be paid minimum wage—effectively a pay rise over what she was getting. The story sparked shock and outrage amongst many. To others, it was merely par for the course. Restaurants, bars and clubs in Iceland are notorious for the use of what is known as jafnaðarkaup (“median pay”)—a form of wage offsetting. By most collective bargaining agreements in the service industry, a worker is supposed to receive a base hourly wage, plus an extra

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