From Iceland — Sour Grapes and Stuff

Sour Grapes and Stuff

Published July 31, 2012

Sour Grapes and Stuff

Most Awesome Letter of the Issue
Góðan dag.
Really enjoyed your latest issue on Greenland.  I was especially pleased to see an article on Ittoqqortoormiit, a place I’ve been very interested in for some time now but never hear anything about.  I’ve twice been to northwestern Greenland, but never to the east, and this particular place is where I find myself fantasizing about going to next.  Also, cool article on the music scene there.  Again, something you don’t hear hardly anything about.
Finally, great to read about the triumphant return of the great Botnleðja.  It kills me that I’m not there to witness it.  I’m positively Greenlandic with envy!
OK, keep up the good work!
John Evicci
Dracut, Massachusetts
Greetings John Evicci! Or should that perhaps be “Green-tings” (no, no it shouldn’t)? We’re pleased that you’re pleased, and truly delighted and astounded that you can spell the destination so effortlessly right. Here at Grapevine Towers we’ve taken to abbreviating it as simply I’miit for sake of ease and time.
Anyway! Thank you for your letter! You flatter us! We are overjoyed! Thanks again! Have some free stöff, and see you soon!

The interview with the No Borders organization was a good initiative, but should have been more detailed. 100 questions arise, but none of them was answered in the interview. For example it would have been interesting to know how No Borders sees society coping with an endless stream of poor people searching for a better life. Who is going to pay for these people, food, housing, social security?
Already there is unemployment in Iceland and other western countries. What should these newcomers do for a living? Who is going to pay their benefits? Where are they going to stay? In tents or containers? Should the State start building new suburbs to accommodate them? What about public transport and other infrastructure of society?
No borders! How would this work in reality?
For example if we had 30-50 thousand people coming here from Africa. Most of them illiterate, not speaking English, not having any skills. Should we build a new suburb in the Reykjavik area and have these people walk around in the streets of Reykjavik on social security? What would it cost to house these people and pay them social benefits? How much tax rise would be necessary? Enormous for sure.
What would be the response from an average Icelander? What about stability in society? If all these people were young males? Males need females, that is the old story. How many weeks would pass and we had a war on the streets? I mean war, not riots, but war and people killing each other and blood running on the streets. Meaning: native Icelanders trying to get rid of the invaders in every way they could.
If 30-50 thousand people from Africa came to Iceland in a few months, searching for a better life, society would break down and there would be war on the streets. Probably the war would start already when 10 thousand or less had arrived. The No Borders experiment would be over.
The interviewer should have been more firm and sceptical with these two No Borders people. They were treated like 10 year old kids just having been watching a TV program about the poor children in Africa.
Dear Einar,
thank you for your letter, and thank you for reading one of our articles with a critical and inquisitive mind, and then for mailing us your thoughts on that article. Critical discourse! It’s a beautiful thing, and you are partaking. This is great! Every human being deserves consideration and respect from its fellow human beings! Especially when it attempts to engage in conversation with other human beings about how we should be running this whole ‘human life on Earth’ thing.
Even if that human being’s arguments and/or opinions happen to be fucking ill considered, narrow-minded, solipsistic—even if they stand in opposition to whatever it is that might allow us to refer to ourselves as ‘human’.
We should strive to always listen and to always consider one another and to treat each other with respect. And always listen.
So even though some of what you’re espousing might be repugnant or ill considered or narrow-minded or solipsistic or whatever, you still deserve being cherished and taken seriously. As a human with thoughts and feelings and sensations and a unique way of experiencing the world and expressing those experiences. As do all of us.  
You start off pretty well. You are right: No Borders’ ideology raises one million questions, and most of them are not addressed or answered in our interview (it was kind of a short interview). But that was sort of the point of that article, as is the point of a lot of things we print in our paper: to raise questions, engage in conversation and motivate our readers to think about their world and what’s in it and question it.  This for instance why we are printing your letter (thanks again for sending it. Maybe the No Borders folks will respond with a letter of their own?).
Yes. Where would all those people live? That’s a good point. What about all of the practical concerns that a ‘world without borders’ entails? Could they be worked out? Are the No Borders people going to do that for us? Or someone else? And are we going to have to alter our world and entire way of life to accommodate all those people? And would that be so horrible?
Those are good questions, and they deserve careful consideration.
However, you then quickly start spouting bullshit rhetoric. Fuck that. And your political party you seem to be trying to found appears to be rooted in the same xenophobic, islamophobic, misanthropic world-view that has inspired folks in many of our neighbouring countries to go around acting like knuckle-headed assholes all over the place. There’s really no need for examples. Fuck that.
Some of what those folks are saying might even might sense at some level, but it fails to register the basic and important premise that needs to be present in all human discourse—the liberal, humanistic premise that the better parts of our society are based on and that enables them to go around spouting their BS without being thrown in jail, and which makes us want to consider your opinion even though it gives us the shivers—namely that all human beings are equal and deserve equal consideration and opportunities and respect and  chances and that all their lives and opinions and views and thoughts should be treasured (and feel free to ponder whether we, as privileged and incidental beneficiaries of a tremendously wealthy and isolated country that exists within and benefit from a hugely discriminatory world order, have any duties to the other seven billion humans on earth (especially those that happened to be born elsewhere)).
They really do.
So yeah. Consider yourself and your viewpoint considered. A discourse going. Feel free to contribute more. And lastly: YOU ARE RIGHT! The interviewer should have been more firm and sceptical. We all should be, at all times!

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