Somewhere Between Worried And Cynical - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Somewhere Between Worried And Cynical

Somewhere Between Worried And Cynical

Published January 18, 2015

Andri Snær Magnason, author, poet

Photos by
Alísa Kalyanova

Andri Snær Magnason, author, poet

The world’s mood is very strange and Iceland swings along. The post-crash era was interesting in many ways: offering promises of social innovation, the rise of small businesses and a general optimism—a euphoric feeling that anything might be possible. This situation caused a wave of urban legends about Iceland. We were creating a new constitution, exciting initiatives, etc… Such stories are still circulating, even as the new government has been busy systematically killing most of the post-crash initiatives—along with dismantling the older systems we were so proud of along with raising taxes on culture and food (while lowering taxes on TVs, sugar and cars).

Many are stuck somewhere between worried and cynical. Online, they try to leave comments on viral videos detailing all the amazing stuff going on in Iceland, saying “nothing of that is true: the constitution failed, the innovation failed, our cops want guns, not kittens, the culture is a thorn in the side of the ruling elite and there is a general polarization going on.”

Thus, if 2014 was the year of shock, disbelief and cynicism, the year 2015 should be the year of new hope, where we find the core of the good old ideas, and start working for them all over again. Getting the constitution done and agreed upon with the help of international specialists and activists in the field, preventing the money from natural resources (such as fisheries and hydro/geothermal power) from being drained away. Breaking up the polarization from the grassroots up—leaving the elite cold and lonely on the top—finalizing a new constitution, founding a national park protecting the highlands of Iceland from further exploitation and getting the innovative spirit on the rise again.

This would be the best. The worst would be going from cynicism to despair or depression—to just giving up and moving to Norway.

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