From Iceland — Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

Published May 19, 2006

Sour Grapes

Regarding your undated article in (REVERSING HISTORY, an interview with Salmann Timini, chairman of the Icelandic Muslim Association), I would like to refer you to the following quote from (Wikipedia).
Prior to 1967, there was no full-fledged university in the West Bank. There were a few lesser institutions of higher education; for example, An-Najah, which started as an elementary school in 1918, became a community college in 1963. As the Jordanian government did not allow the establishment of such universities in the West Bank, it was necessary for Palestinian students to travel abroad to places such as Jordan, Lebanon, or Europe to obtain their undergraduate and graduate-level degrees. After the region was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, several educational institutions expanded into full-fledged undergraduate institutions, while others opened up as entirely new universities. In all, no less than 7 Universities were commissioned in the West Bank since 1967
  This is in stark contrast to your article, and reflects on the author’s tendencies (to slander Israel) or lack of professionalism (in not checking the facts)
You are referring to an introductory paragraph to an interview, in which the following is stated: “Born in Jerusalem in 1955, Tamimi experienced his country go from bad to worse when the 1967 war broke out. The Palestinian university system wiped out, he decided to go to the United States to study. In 1971, he stopped in Iceland on his way over and promptly stayed here.”
This was written in early 2005, under the guidance of a different editor. However, I see no error. First off, Mr. Nikolov didn’t write universities, he wrote university system—those studying in neighbouring countries during the invasion were unable to return home.
Still, I don’t typically consult the Wikipedia for historical fact. The Wikipedia is edited by the public at large, it is not an academic enterprise. In addition, the very article you quote has a large disclaimer pointing out that “the neutrality of this article is disputed.”
The previous editor had greater interest in this case than I, but is your argument that the Palestinian situation greatly improved after 1967? I’m afraid you’d have a hard time finding a source that wouldn’t “slander Israel” on that topic.
My name is Sarah Allen and I am an Icelandic-American.  I just finished reading your article entitled Key Facts About Iceland and I was very impressed.  The issues that you covered are very distressing and give our country a bad reputation.  I have felt distressed for some time about the negative publicity Iceland has been receiving.  (I saw that Oprah episode when it aired and felt very angry about how it was handled.) I just wanted to send you a pat on the back for how you handled this article.  Very well written and appreciated.  Thank You!
Thank you, Sarah Allen. Everyone else can read our facts about Iceland at our website,, which hopes to overcome stereotypes perpetuated by guide books and advertising. I might also point out the writings of our columnist Þórdís Elva Þorvaldsdóttir Bachmann as an excellent source for challenging stereotypes.
RE: Happy Hookers
I’m glad Ms. Þórdís is OK with prostitution. Living in a country like Iceland – with a low incidence of poverty and a relatively inexpensive drug treatment system – it’s no surprise that her notions of prostitution are her cherry-picked examples of people who gleefully sell themselves for movie tickets or airplane flights.
Þórdís should maybe take a trip to west Philadelphia, or New Delhi, or East Los Angeles, or just about any other major city in the world where you’ll find both a high incidence of poverty and poor drug treatment resources. For poor women, especially poor women who are addicted to drugs, their options are very few in such cities. I can assure that they’re not happy to be turning to prostitution. For her to assert that “those who trade sex for money are often no more enslaved than” a girl who blows a security guard to get a seat on a plane is just flat-out inaccurate and a testament to how sheltered she must be.
  Additionally, it’s a shame that the same woman who discussed prejudice against Thai people in the previous issue should perpetuate the old stereotype of Thai women being sex workers in this column – without even stopping to consider why the women offering her boyfriend a “happy ending” might be in the situation they’re in.
  I’ll continue to look forward to reading Grapevine, as all your staff are doing a fantastic job. My only hope is that Ms. Þórdís learns the difference between starting a discussion on a topic with an intelligent argument and just plain demonstrating her ignorance of reality outside of our tiny island.
  Sóley Jónsdóttir
Þórdís will respond in time. Until then, I would like to point out that she referred to the assumption of… that is… I would like to… what’s that? Dinner’s ready? Yeah, mom. I’ll be right there. Sorry, my mother’s calling, I have to go.
RE: Column By Thórdís
So you and your boyfriend didn’t know about these traditional massage places that lined your street in Berlin.
You guys had no idea what goes on in them. Every guy[except yours] knows what goes on in them.
Your boyfriend had no idea…
The other day i was going to one, I patted my dog good-bye, told him where I was going, and he barked out to me, “ruff ruff”. Which meant wear a rubber.
Your boyfriend had no idea…
The other day I was visited by a space alien. He said, “Take me to your leader. But I’ve had a long trip, could we stop at a Thai massage place first?”
Your boyfriend had no idea…
He sounds like a keeper, marry him.
But be warned, danger lurks elsewhere…
In case your boyfriend is walking down a street and a girl on a corner calls out to him, “Hey handsome, want to have a good time?” She’s not looking to go to the ballgame. And if your boyfriend is surfing the net, let him know there have been cases of people finding pornography without even trying. Shocking but true.
Oh shit. No you didn’t. No you didn’t.
Dear Editor,
I wish to apply through you to publish my name and address in your most popular newspaper for me. I have to state that I am a real African who wants Pen Friends from your country so that we may share ideas and know each other’s culture, etc.
Publication has therefore necessitated my application and I shall be extremely grateful if my request will be given an exceptional consideration to enable me to achieve my aim.
Below are my particulars:
Name: Lydia Wood. Address: P.O. Box DA 654, Akim Oda, E/R Ghana, West Africa.
Language: English. Marital Status: Single. Hobbies/ Interests/ Wishes: Here I am, lonely single me! My name is Lydia wood and I am 26 years old. I have an impressive body with nice hair and eyes. I have never been married and enjoy music, travel, reading, sports, visits, cooking, fun, beaches, nature, culture, etc. I would like to meet and correspond with a special, kind, loving, caring, honest, sincere man for beautiful friends, love and marriage. Any race, age, nationality and religion. Write soon.
Please, kindly try as much as possible to help me to meet or have someone special. Also, you can extend my advert into any company you know in your area.
God Bless You.
Yours Respectfully,
Lydia Wood
P.S: I enclose U.S. $5.00 as my little contribution so that you may consider me and truly help me. Thank you.
That’s it. There is no fucking God. Lydia, your $5 will sit somewhere in the office, until it is unceremoniously stolen by the many visiting journalists who come here to ask us about elves.
I’m taking a vacation. But before I do, let me tell you all, those who question Þórdís will suffer the wrath of Þórdís. It’s as true today as it was when I got it in a fortune cookie in 1986, in Berlin.

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