From Iceland — What Are Icelanders Talking About?: Hatari, Pregnancy, And Spy Beluga Whales

What Are Icelanders Talking About?: Hatari, Pregnancy, And Spy Beluga Whales

Published May 7, 2019

What Are Icelanders Talking About?: Hatari, Pregnancy, And Spy Beluga Whales
Andie Sophia Fontaine
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One of the hottest topics on Icelandic social media right now is Hatari’s arrival in Tel Aviv to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. There has been strong, sharply-divided opinion about their participation, at home and abroad, and that continues now as the band meet with reporters and begins rehearsal. The timing of their arrival in Israel coincided with further bombardment of Gaza, resulting in dozens of deaths and many more injuries, enthusiastically pointed out by those who wanted to see Hatari boycott the song contest altogether. At the same time, their declaration at their first press conference in Israel that they “hope to see an end to the occupation” was praised by those supportive of their stated goal to stand up for the Palestinian cause while at Eurovision. Calls for Hatari to be banned altogether on the grounds that they are “politicising” the contest have not abated, either, although with the main event coming up on May 18th, that seems increasingly unlikely to happen.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Parliament has advanced progress on a bill that would permit the termination of pregnancies until the end of the 22nd week regardless of circumstances. This bill has been hotly contested in Parliament, with objections being raised almost entirely by men—and all five members of the Centre Party. Notable abstentions from voting on the bill included seven men from the Independence Party and Minister of Culture and Education Lilja Alfreðsdóttir. All that being the case, the bill has passed through two rounds of debate and committee. The bill will be put up for a final vote soon, when it is very likely to pass.

In lighter news, it appears increasingly unlikely that Iceland will adopt the “spy beluga whale” that was first spotted in Norwegian waters and suspected of being trained by Russia. As the Grapevine reported, there are already two beluga whales—Little Grey and Little White—on their way from China to Iceland, to be settled in the Westman Islands. While Norwegian marine life expert Jørgen Ree Wiig told the Washington Post that the spy beluga whale could join Little Grey and Little White, the company Sea Life Trust, which is overseeing the relocation of the Chinese beluga whales to Iceland, does not think this is a good idea. They contend that when Little Grey and Little White arrive, their health will be in a very delicate position, where adapting to their new surroundings will be crucial. As such, introducing a third beluga whale to their habitat could endanger their wellbeing. That being the case, the fate of the spy beluga whale is still uncertain.

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