From Iceland — News In Brief September

News In Brief September

Published October 3, 2013

News In Brief September
Parker Yamasaki

The world is a crazy place. Turbulence in the Middle East has led Iceland to offer asylum to about a dozen refugees from Iran and Afghanistan. Live on CNBC, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð blamed the 2008 economic crash on “European regulations.” And Árni Björn Guðjónsson is selling paintings of former Prime Minister and current Morgunblaðið editor Davíð Oddsson.
MEANWHILE, all the media seems to care about is sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Well, can you blame us? Earlier this month, police were called to rescue a distressed man who reported that somebody had been ringing his doorbell repeatedly for about half an hour, and was too scared to investigate himself. The police arrived to greet a couple making love in the worried man’s entryway, right up against the wall. Come on, they were asking for the attention.
Besides, sex can get political too. For instance, former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir’s partner, Jónína Leósdóttir, is finally coming out… with a book! The book is titled ‘With Jóhanna,’ and chronicles her relationship with the former Prime Minister. Sure, maybe that’s more about sexuality than sex, but apparently the slim discrepancy is enough to disturb Icelandic musician Gylfi Ægisson.
Gylfi is charging the organisers of Reykjavík’s renowned Gay Pride festival for being too openly sexual for an all-ages crowd. Gylfi cited Article 93 of the Child Protection Law, which states that festivals of a sexual nature must prohibit children under the age of 18 from being present. Apparently Jón Gnarr’s donning of the women’s national costume was just too risqué for Iceland’s innocents. It must have been the cloak.
But by now it is no secret that Iceland is a pretty gay place. In fact, it is among the top ten gayest places in the world! The 2013 World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations, posits Iceland as the ninth happiest place in the world, amongst a Nordic-heavy top-ten.
Maybe it’s because we are such a welcoming place: the number of foreign citizens living in Iceland has risen to 7%. We are religiously tolerant: after a thirteen-year-long application process, the mosque in Sogamýri has just received approval for construction! And we’re all for equality: gays from Iran and Afghanistan comprise about half of the aforementioned refugees seeking asylum in Iceland. OR, maybe everybody here is just high.
Former Supreme Court justice Jón Steinar Gunnlaugsson told radio show Harmageddon that it’s time for Iceland to consider a new approach to drug enforcement—called legalisation. “We’re not improving the situation by creating an underworld,” he said. The current drug laws in place are not working he contends, and the emphasis should be placed on rehabilitation of addiction.
By the same token, a recent poll by Maskína for the Directorate of Health shows that the public attitude toward the legalisation of marijuana has been steadily changing over the last decade. While Iceland is far from a majority in favour, the number has risen from about 9.3% in support of legalisation to about 11.3%. Meanwhile, about 36% of respondents confirmed having tried marijuana or other cannabis products, but only 6.5% consider themselves “regular users.” Jón may just be right; the drugs aren’t going anywhere, regardless of their status with the law.
And, as promised, we’ve got some rock ‘n’ roll for you too. We’ve also got some acoustic, some electronic, some hip-hop, experimental, shoe-gaze, trance, dance, and every scene in between on our Grapevine Iceland Airwaves website! Go check it out: for your recommended daily dose of righteousness.

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