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

Monday News Edit: What Are Icelanders Talking About?

Published February 19, 2018

Photo by
Martin Norris Studio Photography/Alamy
Art Bicnick

Another week, another Monday. While the weekend was meteorologically quiet, it was not void of interesting events that kept us tied to our phone screens as if under a spell. Besides a particularly lively couple of days in Grimsey, where the population has barely managed to sleep because of a rather loud series of earthquakes, 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.

The debate on circumcision that has recently split the island in two factions has finally reached overseas territories, even succeeding in alleviating some of the friction between Catholics, Muslims and Jews that has been going on for centuries. Can you believe it? After the Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir dramatically condemned the ban for possibly leading to the criminalisation of Judaism and Islam, even the international press picked up on the subject, with those who call it an anti-Semitic proposal on one side and those who see circumcision as a violation of human rights on the other, the debate is far from over. What is clear right now is that if the bill passes it will become a precedent that other countries could follow up on.

While the circumcision debate goes on like a fervent ping-pong match, our favourite story still remains the curious case of the paralysed lawyer. Sunna Elvíra Þorkelsdóttir was still stuck in a Malaga hospital when the Spanish police found out that her husbands’ drug parcel had indeed been paid by her. While she insisted on being completely ignorant of her husband’s dealings, her husband came clear: Sunna was never involved in the drug smuggling ring, but she knew all about it. What a twist! Worthy of the best TV crime shows, for sure, but the funniest thing is that Icelanders can’t seem to decide how to look at it. You’ve got those who don’t understand why the Icelandic public sent her millions of ISK to help her get back home if her husband is a drug smuggler. Then you have those who insist that whatever Sunna did, she still has a right to come home and receive proper hospital care; not like the care they offer in third world countries like Spain. Finally, you have those who are baffled by how the press handled the case since the beginning. Where do you stand?

We hope you haven’t had enough of heart-warming family stories after Sunna’s case, because Mitch Koster’s cute tale of abandonment and family reunion reported by RÚV might just melt your heart. Get comfy, this is one of those stories that Icelanders love because it’s got everything: a lost child, Facebook, a loving Icelandic family and a good dose of fermented shark.

Mitch, who is an American citizen, was given up for adoption at birth. After a series of blood tests and some good old Facebook action, however, he found out that his birth father is an Icelandic man named Björn Antonsson. Björn met Mitch’s mother while he was working in Oklahoma in his youth, but he never knew he had a son. When Mitch came to Iceland to meet the family, they welcomed him with affection and excitement. Mitch has so far been able to visit Reykjavík and the countryside, as well as to taste some Icelandic delicacies such as fermented shark. “He was really disappointed with my reaction, actually,” Mitch said of his father. “I think he expected me to spit the shark out!” It’s good to know that even when life is giving you lemons, you can always count on Iceland to provide you with a lovely lemonade of cute or funny stories to brighten up your day.

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