From Iceland — No Borders Continues To Apply Pressure On Iceland Airwaves

No Borders Continues To Apply Pressure On Iceland Airwaves

Published October 26, 2022

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Previously, we reported on an organisation called No Borders that had been calling on musicians to boycott the Iceland Airwaves festival. The group aims to pressure Icelandair, which is the main sponsor of Iceland Airwaves, to deny the Icelandic government the ability to book deportation flights for individuals who are refused asylum in Iceland.

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An open letter, sent out by No Borders today, reads: “Icelandair, Iceland Airwaves’ main sponsor, allows Icelandic authorities to use seats in their planes to execute deportations of asylum seekers and refugees from Iceland. Having seen many friends of ours being deported over the course of the past years, we experience deportations as state violence, a manifestation of systemic racism, that causes long-lasting physical and mental harm. Instead of being offered help in their search for a better and more humane life, people are sent back into often life-threatening situations of violence, xenophobia, struggle, danger, poverty, exhaustion. By cooperating with the Icelandic authorities, Icelandair plays an active role in this.”

According to this letter, No Borders together with a number of bands that are set to perform at this year’s Iceland Airwaves, demand that Icelandair immediately stops “its participation in deportations of refugees and asylum seekers.” The undersigned bands include BSÍ, Gróa, Porridge Radio, Russian Girls, Skoffín, Sucks to be you, Nigel, Supersport! and Tuys as well as 12 other bands and artists who wish to remain anonymous.

However, it is unclear what action, if any, the protestors are prepared to take if their demands are not met. The latest letter does not make reference to any proposed boycott, as was originally planned.

Read the full open letter below.

It is yet unclear if Iceland Airwaves has responded to this letter. Earlier the festival has issued a statement saying that the Icelandic government buys flights like any other customer. Icelandair can refuse a passenger to be on their flight only if they pose security risks.

“Iceland Airwaves is not in any position to change any of this. Without musicians, there is no festival. So it is unclear what precisely the demands are here or in whose interest it is to bring the most important festival in Iceland to its knees. And it’s hard to see any other consequences because, in reality, these actions would not affect the Icelandic government or Icelandair in any way,” reads the statement.

Iceland Airwaves returns to Reykjavík on November 3-5. Read our interview with the festival director Ísleifur Þórhallsson here.

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