Published February 17, 2014
He is a Nigerian who applied for asylum in Iceland two years ago. Late last year he was escorted out of the country by police and separated from the mother of his child, Evelyn Glory Joseph, a fellow asylum seeker. Mr. Omos is now staying with an acquaintance after having been deported to Switzerland, where authorities consider that Mr. Omos’ asylum status should be handled by Icelandic authorities since he was in Iceland for 22 months
Nooooo! Not Switzerland! It is a dangerous place where unwary outsiders will be pushed into chocolate lakes by hooligan cows.
Before deportation he found himself smeared on the front page of the most widely read newspaper in Iceland as a suspect in a human trafficking case and for having forced Ms. Joseph to pretend that the child she was carrying was his. Both allegations were quickly proven to be untrue. This smear campaign has shocked people in Iceland, which is saying something as people seeking asylum in Iceland have generally been treated quite badly in the last century or so.
Last century? Oh, please tell me that Iceland didn’t… you know… not help people fleeing Nazi persecution.
Perhaps the most awful case was when an Icelandic humanitarian organisation had secured places for 8-10 Jewish children in local homes in 1938. The only thing missing was permission from the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Hermann Jónasson. They refused these children entry. When paediatrician Katrín Thoroddsen, one of the prospective foster parents, wrote an article criticising the government’s decision, a newspaper funded by the prime minister’s party said the humanitarians were bullying the prime minister and suggested these families were taking in these Jewish children to advertise their kindness.
Yes, saving children from persecution is all well and good, but a government’s first duty is to stop vanity.
Sadly and infuriatingly enough the Icelandic government refused entry to many Jews trying to flee the Nazis before and during World War II, even in cases where they were on their way to other countries and merely needed to stop here for a short while. You would think that something as outrageously wrong as impeding people trying to flee genocide would teach the Icelandic government an important lesson in not being monstrous shitwits, but you would be wrong.
Thanks for clarifying that, I was just about to ask if the Icelandic government still behaved like monstrous shitwits.
It has not actively been keeping people from saving children from Nazis. I guess that is an improvement. In the specific case of Mr. Omos, shitwittery has been the order of the day. An Interior Ministry memo was leaked to the two most widely read newspapers in Iceland, Fréttablaðið and Morgunblaðið, with the above-mentioned allegations. A third newspaper, DV, has pursued the case, trying to find out who wrote the memo and who sent it to journalists. When asked about the source of the leak, Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir and her staff suggested it might have come from another institution or organisation altogether, like the Directorate of Immigration or the Red Cross.
The Red Cross! That dastardly supervillain strikes again! Oh wait, I’m thinking of the Red Skull.
All these organisations and institutions deny having been given the memo and nothing has appeared to link anyone outside of the Interior Ministry with the leak. The minister and her staff have now stopped answering media inquiries, and have cast themselves in the role of victims of a media witch hunt.
I guess they’re being bullied like that poor prime minister who didn’t want to let Jewish children escape from Nazi persecution.
Following accusations that DV was making threats, the editor has revealed that the minister and her staff have called the newspaper repeatedly to pressure them into not reporting on the matter. Now members of parliament have begun to pursue the matter. With admirable consistency, she said that those asking her questions were attacking the honour and integrity of those working in her ministry.
Not to take the focus off the important matter of getting people to treat politicians like they wish to be treated, but what of the child of Mr. Omos and Ms. Joseph?
As of this writing, the child is still unborn. Given the haste in which Mr. Omos was escorted out of the country, it is not impossible to imagine immigration authorities waiting in the delivery room with a basket to whisk the infant straight onto a plane, any plane, out of Iceland. And equally easy to imagine next day’s newspapers reporting that according to an Interior Ministry memo, that child was actually the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, Jack the Ripper and Charles Manson, even though that last one is not technically dead yet.
Leak Within The Ministry?