The Debates On Monday #1
Today, Monday, Professor Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarson, the Icelandic neoliberal experiment’s chief ideologue since the late 1970’s, recommends that the Icelandic right wing draw a lesson from the Swedish election results, as well as the rise of Britain’s UKIP, and uphold stronger xenophobic policies: “struggle against immigration and sever the ties to the EU”. Teacher, journalist and right-wing pundit Páll Vilhjálmsson wrote a blog post titled ‘Nuclear bombs are Christian‘ suggesting that the West nuke parts of the Middle-East to teach its inhabitants a lesson. “The rise in militant muslims in this part of the world will sooner rather than later force the West to employ the weapons that suffice to convince the prophet’s nations that muslim terrorism will not be tolerated.”
Incidentally, meanwhile, sulphuric air pollution levels stay high in Eastern Iceland. The volcanic gases may reportedly be expected all over the country if current eruptions continue. Police advice those in affected areas to stay indoors, close their windows, and turn up the heat.
Writer and critic Ásgeir H. Ingólfsson, currently travelling through Bulgaria, summarizes the political and media situation in an article about why he gave up on Iceland, succinctly titled ‘Bad media and bad government’. “I emigrated,” he says, “because I had lost hope.” Even if conservative powers “cannot keep a nation from thinking,” by controlling the country’s media, “they can keep it from thinking together.” The article’s concluding paragraph begins with these words: “The winter of 2008–09, we started something extraordinary. On the continent, people still talk about it, they think we finished the job. Even with dignity. We certainly did not.” Writer Snæbjörn Brynjarsson expresses related sentiments in his article ‘You destroyed Iceland‘ while emphasizing, somewhat angrily, that giving up is too easy: “Just saying fuck you to the powers-to-be and ministers is too easy, they are there as our representatives, in our silence.” He goes on to say ‘fuck you’ to himself and other members of the public for dragging their feet. “Fuck you and start hoping, thinking and protesting. Take the chance.”
I am going to attempt a weekly coverage of notable commentary and opinionpieces from the Icelandic-language media, to appear on Mondays. By nature, this sort of endeavour is selective, which does not, however, mean arbitrary. Do let know, through the comments below or email, if you think I have missed anything of importance. HMH.