From Iceland — Sour Grapes Issue 05 2008

Sour Grapes Issue 05 2008

Published May 9, 2008

Sour Grapes Issue 05 2008

Dear editor,
Whilst I have some sympathy from the truck drivers and others who earn their living on the road, the high-jacking of the fuel price protests by the 4×4 travel club undermines the legitimate concerns of the professional drivers. The travel club are recreational drivers, basically demanding a state subsidy to pursue a hobby. Furthermore, for all that Icelanders are rightly proud of their natural environment, the 4×4 travel club, compiled of members who enjoy travelling to visit some of its most breath-taking sites, fail to reflect on the damage their very pursuit entails upon the environment they so treasure. These are the same 4×4 drivers who leave their engines running as they drop-off and collect their children from kindergarten – literally without thought as to the consequences for the air quality surrounding their own and other infants.
Complaints and protests in Akureyri by private drivers are particularly gnawing, given that there is a perfectly adequate – and free – bus service. 8 months pregnant, I am a frequent user, often accompanied by my 2 year old. It is laziness and a sense of entitlement that is keeping drivers behind the wheels of their own private vehicles.
Before the 4×4 drivers throw their toys out of the pram again, they might consider exchanging their vehicles for ones that consumes less fuel and emit less pollution, especially for short, urban journeys. Or they might get out of their cars, walk 200 hundred metres and take a bus, thus avoiding the fuel spike altogether.
Dr. Rachael Lorna Johnstone
Dear Rachel,
The incredible tastelessness of the 4×4 traveling club has kept me up at nights with laugher. In fact, I am rolling on the floor as I type this. Don’t expect other people to bail you out from your own stupidity, I guess that is the lesson we all need to learn here.
Dear Editor,
I would like to be one of the first people to congratulate the local Reykjavík administration for their strategic masterstroke of employing truck drivers to keep the civil peace whilst the Police were partaking in their recent anarchic demonstrations. The truckers did a remarkable job to keep such a rowdy bunch of cops at bay and I sincerely hope that the Police can resolve their dispute soon (maybe they don’t get enough Kleinur’s and coffee on the current budget?). But I, for one, am happy to sleep comfortably at night knowing that the truck drivers are keeping the normal folk of Reykjavík safe…
10-4 Stephen Taylor-Matthews

Dear Stephen,
I agree. These police officers have made a mockery of protests in Iceland. Hopefully, this matter will be put to rest soon and the police reprimanded for acting like bafoons. Editor

Dear Editor
I would to reply to the letter published in the Grapevine issue 2 on Friday, February 08, 2008, written by Jessica. I am a South African-born woman who has been living in Iceland for 12 years and has Icelandic citizenship.
Growing up in South Africa during the Apartheid era, I made the decision not to judge people on their race or religion but rather on their personalities. For the most part I have been well received by the Icelanders that I have met socially and professionally. At the moment I am working at a salt fish factory in the West of Iceland and enjoy working with people from Poland and Bosnia, as well as some of the Icelanders. Unfortunately for the past three years I have been subjected (I don’t use the term victimized, as I don’t want to be a victim) to racial slurs and verbal abuse at the hands of three Icelanders whom I work with. I am a polite person and treat people as I would like to be treated but if I don’t like someone then I still try to work with that person and show them basic courtesy, without resorting to name calling or backstabbing. Unlike the aforementioned three individuals, who for some reason have decided that I can’t do anything right.
The factory manager and the owner have tried to resolve the issue by getting representatives from Alþjoðahus to come and talk about communication between Icelanders and foreigners in the workplace but it had no effect on them. The push finally came to a shove with me confronting two of them resulting in one walking out of her job and her husband giving notice because as is the case with bullies, when confronted they can´t do anything besides shouting and becoming verbally abusive. The remaining woman seems to have changed her attitude and I sincerely hope that she has.
I will be leaving my current place of employment at the end of the month but I hope things may improve for the foreigners for who will continue to work there and that they can do their work without being refered to as ‘’Helvitis útlendingar/ Pólverjar’’.
Finally, I love living here and enjoy the privileges of having an Icelandic passport. I truly hope that Iceland can find a solution to the problem of racial prejudice, as it does go both ways, before we see incidents as in Denmark happening here.
Dear Natalie,
I am sorry to hear how some people’s stupidity seems to make the incapable of feeling for another person and show minimum human decency. Your boss should have fired them on the spot if they are incapable of treating a fellow workers with the respect they deserve.
Stay strong,

I am a girl. I am 30 years old. I wonder your culture. It is now difficult to visit your country. Can I get Lapa Peysa and Vikings.
Thank you.
Emel Turan, Turkey
Dear Emel
By lapa peysa, I suppose you mean lopapeysa, Icelandic woolen sweater. They are readily available in almost any souvenir shop. The Vikings might prove to be more of an obstacle. Most of them turned to farming in the 11th century. Reportedly some moved to Greenland but we have not heard from them since they left. But if you find any , do let me know.

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