From Iceland — Monday News Edit: What Are Icelanders Talking About?

Monday News Edit: What Are Icelanders Talking About?

Published February 12, 2018

Photo by
Art Bicnick
Timothee Lambrecq
Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir via Facebook
Wikimedia Commons

Besides the biggest issues that have been at the centre of every TV debate in the past few years and aren’t likely to be solved by the time you finish that cup of coffee you’re holding right now, what has been on Icelanders’ minds as of late? Here’s a round-up of fresh debates, hot topics and crazy madness from these past few days.

When acclaimed Icelandic musician and Oscar-nominated composer Jóhann Jóhannsson passed away last week aged 48, the entire social media world went bonkers. The cause of death is still unknown, but what’s certain is that the legacy he left behind won’t be forgotten soon. The man was known for his musical contribution to movies such as Sicario and Theory of Everything, but it was his approach to composing that made him memorable. “You don’t always know what kind of film you have when you start making a film,” he told The Grapevine in his 2016 cover interview. “But a director with a strong vision, and belief in the team he assembles… it makes the music an integral, organic part of the film’s DNA.” An outpour of support flooded Facebook and Twitter during the entire weekend in a collective effort to celebrate and remember Jóhann’s great talent.

Mr. Avi Feldman has recently decided to move to Iceland with his wife and children in order to become the first rabbi to ever live here, and open the country’s first synagogue, Vísir reports. Their decision to move here comes just a week after a group of Icelandic politicians decided to extend the ban on genital mutilation to little boys, thus effectively banning circumcision in Iceland. The rabbi’s plan is in fact to change Icelanders’ mind on the subject. Whether he will manage, it’s hard to say. Besides the usual plethora of silly, nationalist comments such as “Iceland for Icelanders” that has flooded social media, in fact, people seem to be looking at the practice from a human rights point of view, insisting that such an invasive action is violence against children. Having seen Icelanders’ attention span, we are now accepting bets on how long this debate will go on.

One of the things that Icelanders do best is bash against each other. This town hates that town, Northerners think there is no place like the North and people who live in the city look at the suburbs with contempt. The latest squabble of the sort, however, is the annual snow contest between Reykjavík and the rest of the country. Northerners have actively been making fun of city people for calling last weekend’s blizzard ‘a storm.’ May we remind you that multiple car accidents in the suburbs of the capital have ended in roads being closed, with people diligently posting pictures of their tribulations on Facebook. Nonetheless, someone called Reykjavik’s snow “a walk in the park” compared to the situation in Akureyri, Ísafjörður and Dalvík, with the above picture from Ísafjörður, captioned “this had to be done,” being shared by more than seven hundred people. Okay guys, you win this one, but this social media feud is far from over.

As recently reported by Kjarninn, ten MPs have been reimbursed by the state for their transportation costs: a total amount of 25.8 million ISK in 2017, with 29.2 million being the total amount spent by the entire body of Parliament members. It turns out that the individual who spent the most, who was later identified as Ásmundur Friðriksson from The Independence Party, got a total of 4.6 million ISK reimbursed, which amounts to about 16% of the total cost. Despite transportation costs having more than halved since 2013, the news caused a collective outrage on social media about the lack of transparency in Parliament, but it also sparked a countless amount of funny tweets on the matter. A young man calculated that “if Ásmundur had driven the entire Ring Road, flown to Germany, driven all highways in Germany and flown from there to New Zealand, he still would have travelled less extensively than he did in the south of Iceland last year.” Why we are still paying such high bills with taxpayer money is still unclear.

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