From Iceland — Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

Published December 7, 2007

Sour Grapes

Dear Madam, Sir,
In the frame of making a filmed documentary for the Belgian
television, we have started a worldwide search for individuals
born on very specific dates. Our goal is to obtain the
largest panel of people possible i.e. diversity of nationalities,
ethnicities, social backgrounds, professions, faith, etc.
The idea behind this documentary is to film lives in parallel
from people who have nothing in common but their date of
birth. You could see it as an attempt to answer the question:
“what would my life be if I was born in another part of the
We are looking for people born on:
29 April 1933
18 July 1948
19 July 1948
20 August 1949
11 February 1952
18 January 1956
5 May 1956
27 August 1958
30 December 1960
24 July 1962
14 January 1965
27 January 1965
5 October 1968
5 February 1969
6 April 1969
3 May 1981
5 April 1943
2 May 1950
20 July 1963
24 March 1964
10 February 1965
26 March 1975
4 November 1977
27 December 1979
24 July 1982
Could you publish this mail in your magazine, in order to be
seen by as many people as possible? We would be delighted
to find a birthday twin in Iceland!
This request is strictly limited to a research for our documentary.
You may contact us
We thank you in advance and hope that you will be able to
help us.
Kindest regards,
Annelore De Donde
Dear Annelore,
Consider your wish to be fulfilled.

Dear Grapevine, Thanks for covering the increased pressure on citizenship application procedures (Ian Watson, “You Too Can Be a Citizen”, #17, 2007).
Concerning Article 6, the granting of citizenship at parliamentary discretion: Let’s everyone–members of parliament and immigrants alike–keep our hands off it! It should be neither “a privilege in the hands of the few” nor an alternative for the many.
A “quick fix” procedure exists for humanitarian reasons. Its flexibility–that it leaves the granting of citizenship to discretion– is also humanitarian. Discretion may be a slippery slope, but that is why normal bureaucratic procedure exists for 99% of us.
Article 6 is intended for extraordinary circumstances when the granting of Icelandic citizenship can rescue stranded children, reunite loved ones, or save someone from acute injustice. To offer an example based on precedent, a political refugee might be granted citizenship quickly to enable her to return home to aid a dying relative without facing arrest and imprisonment.
Changing circumstance may force new legislation, and abuse of privilege must be guarded against, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath. Sincerely, Sarah Brownsberger
Dear Sarah, Thanks for your letter. Are we right that you are worried that there is a movement to get rid of Parliament’s ability to grant citizenship at its own discretion? No one, to our knowledge, is advocating that. Current law is clear: Parliament can grant citizenship to anyone it wants to, at its own initiative, for humanitarian purposes among others, as the Bobby Fischer case illustrates.
Ian Watson’s article was about a somewhat different side of the issue: a de facto application procedure has grown up around that law, through which individuals can call Parliament’s attention to their interest in being granted such express citizenship. This procedure does not seem to be grounded in any law or regulation, information about it has never been well publicised, and it seems that not every resident of Iceland has been given an equal opportunity to take advantage of it.
It sounds like you would be glad to see this procedure abolished, rather than reformed. This is an idea worth pondering. You still think, though, that express citizenship should be an option in humanitarian cases. And that begs the question of how Parliament would find out about these worthy humanitarian cases. The real puzzle is how to design a system which both uses government resources efficiently, and allows those with a great and sincere need for express citizenship to receive it without string-pulling or insider knowledge.
Ian Watson

Dear Grapevine, Re: the skyr letter from Lauren M in the last issue of The Reykjavik Grapevine
I’ve bought in Whole Foods in NYC. Their product is sold at selected metropolitan Whole Foods stores. You can get more info on retailers at . There’s also a domestic manufacturer of organic skyr in the states, Siggi’s Skyr. It’s run by a very nice icelandic guy called Siggi. They currently only sell their product in the New York area, but wider distribution is forthcoming. Siggi’s site is
– Sveinbjörn
Dear Sveinbjörn,
We have also learned about this mysterious new phenomenon called Siggi’s Skyr, which is apparently manufactured by an Icelandic person who, believe it or not, is named Siggi. That is a one in a million chance right there. But, yes, Siggi’s Skyr, available from both Murray’s and Real Food Markets. Go get some.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!


Show Me More!