From Iceland — News In Brief: Late September

News In Brief: Late September

Published October 16, 2013

News In Brief: Late September
Parker Yamasaki

Happy, happy, joy, joy! Earlier this month Iceland was named the Most Peaceful Country by the 2013 Global Peace Index, again. The report ranks countries based on factors in three major categories: conflict, societal safety and militarisation. Iceland’s overall status shot it straight to the top, that’s right, #1 of 162 countries evaluated. So what’s all the grumbling about?
On October 1, more than 50 earthquakes were detected just north of Eyjafjörður, North Iceland. Although the quakes were mild, they appear to be part of a new wave of seismic activity in the North. All right Earth, we get it. You’re upset. But what’s this all about, really?
Maybe it’s the proposed road over the lava fields of Gálgahraun. Despite the fact that the fields were declared a protected area back in 2009, construction for the proposed road was given the green light earlier this month. Since the clearance of the proposal, groups like Hraunavinir (“Lava Friends”) have organised protests in the area, including a heated stand-off between protestors and a fleet of construction equipment in September. There is now talk of setting up a tent city in the fields until the issue is resolved.
Hraunavinir aren’t the only ones standing up to The Man; as Parliament opened its autumn session, protestors gathered in Austurvöllur to demonstrate their dismay with the men and women of the ruling coalition. Specifically, it was a response to what people see as the shortcomings of the current government: delayed help to households in debt, the revoking of the Nature Preservation Law, and proposed cutbacks to healthcare, education and the arts.
Even the birds have been acting out lately. In particular, ravens in Svínadal are making very clear their disagreement with shiny things. In the past year, ravens have removed an estimated 500 reflective badges from road signs in the Svínadal area. A reported 150 more were stolen just this past week. While the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration is busy fighting battles, the avian vandals are waging a war.
And just when it seemed like all hope was lost, the Festival of Hope came to town! Only it was quickly apparent that it was not going to bring very much hope. The festival was met with resistance when it came to light that Franklin Graham, an outspoken homophobic preacher, would be headlining the event.
All in all, we think that the award for most creative disruption of the festival goes to Sigurboði Grétarsson, who was asked to leave the Festival of Hope after entering the event in “corpse paint” with an incendiary bible verse tacked onto the back of his leather jacket. After stirring up some mild controversy, Sigurboði was escorted out, whereafter he proceeded to go get a burger.
Maybe, amidst so much protest and disruption, it’s best to adopt a motto similar to Sigurboði: just say “to hell with it” and go get a burger.

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