Nazis, Mike Pence And The Third Energy Package: What Are Icelanders Talking About? - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Nazis, Mike Pence And The Third Energy Package: What Are Icelanders Talking About?

Published September 11, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Main photo by
Hjálmar Theodórsson

Iceland is not a Nazi-friendly country. This became very apparent when a dozen members of the Nordic Resistance Movement gathered in downtown Reykjavík earlier this month to hand out flyers about “cultural Marxism” (a made-up concept popularised by Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik) and call people “race traitors”. While some Icelanders commented on social media that the best response would be to laugh at them or ignore them (interestingly, almost everyone suggesting this were people who’d never have to worry about being targeted by Nazis), some 200 Icelanders gathered for an anti-fascist rally at the same spot just days later, braving the rain and cold to voice their opposition to intolerance. 200 versus 12 is a pretty encouraging ratio, to be sure.

Speaking of acts against intolerance, the arrival of US Vice President Mike Pence to Iceland was a showcase of expressions of diversity. Icelanders were both frustrated and confused by the extreme security measures Mike felt necessary to have, blocking off whole city blocks to traffic around Höfði, the historic 1986 meeting place of Reagan and Gorbachev, replete with snipers on nearby roofs and helicopters circling the area. Bear in mind that Angela Merkel, one of the most powerful politicians in Europe, openly walked the streets of downtown Reykjavík just weeks prior, with a minimal entourage. The company Advania, located just next to Höfði, raised six Pride flags as a visible show of support for diversity, something Mike has proven allergic to, and two people were arrested for burning the American flag. While some Icelanders commenting on the visit engaged in some Pelosi Clap-levels of projection (“Did you see the side-eye our Prime Minister gave him?”), other messages were clearer, such as President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson wearing a rainbow bracelet for his meeting with Pence, and talking about the importance of tolerance and diversity. Some Icelandic conservatives were “concerned” about hurting the feelings of dear tender Mike, but it seemed most agreed that a few Pride flags was a fair exchange for effectively putting the city under US military occupation for seven hours.

The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief when Parliament passed the Third Energy Package into law, which was signed into execution by the President. At long last, the issue that has prompted some of the longest filibusters in Icelandic history, ramped up the populist social media propaganda machine and just generally exhausted everybody was finally laid to rest. And now that Iceland has officially adopted this EU regulation, we reckon it’s only a matter of time before Brussels constructs an enormous extension cord, drags it across the North Sea, plugs it into our power grid and saps us completely dry of every last electron we produce. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

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