From Iceland with love
I’m starting to have doubts about the effective secrecy of our bunker. And I have valid reasons for that. Today I was working on my daily translation when a journalist from a Spanish tv-station walked into my office with a camera crew.
They were preparing an item on Audiovisuales. Now, I’ve noticed that the journalist’s curiosity is always awakened when he or she encounters a foreigner in the core of the Spanish Revolution. So usually they want to do an interview with me. Only this time I didn’t let them. I started interviewing them myself.
“Tell me something about how to make television. I want to learn.”
There is hardly enough time for it. They have some more shooting to do at the university. “Why don’t you come along? I have a taxi waiting outside. I’ll explain it on the way.”
So next thing I know we’re on our way to the Faculty of Information Sciences. The building is a horrible piece of concrete. “I have spent five years of my life in this place,” the journalist explains, “the original design was meant to become a prison in Canada. But apparently the government decided it wasn’t humane to lock up prisoners in a place like this. So they used the blueprint to turn it into a university building.”
In one of the underground cellars an honoured guest from Iceland will be received today. I had already encountered him this morning at the photo opportunity in Puerta del Sol. His name is Hördur Torfasun. He is an actor, a poet, and the driving force behind the Icelandic revolution.
I doubt that many people will know anything about the Icelandic revolution. We all heard a lot of talk about what went wrong in Iceland, but for some reason, when things started to go right, it didn’t quite have the same news value. That is why Hördur is here to share his experiences with the comrades from Puerta del Sol.
He is an admireable person with a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong. His story starts the day when the police arrived in the middle of the night to take away his neighbours. They hadn’t done anything wrong. But they were black. Political refugees from Ghana. The police showed them a document written in Icelandic which apparently stated they had no right to be here. They were taken away and put on a plane.
The next day Hördur went to the ministery of justice. He demanded an explanation. He didn’t receive any. So the next day he came back. He was ignored once again. So he came back. Every day at twelve o’ clock he stood in front of the ministery of justice waiting for an explanation.
It didn’t take long before he started to attract attention. Iceland is a small country. People began to take up the cause. The minister finally promised that he would look into it, but he said that it could take a couple of months.
“No,” Hördur said, “you have one month, starting today.”
That was years ago. The family from Ghana is living happily ever after in Iceland again. They have noticed that the place has a future.
It didn’t seem that way back in 2008 when the country went bankrupt just like that. “Something has gone terribly wrong here,” Hördur said. So this time, every day at noon, he went to parliament. But he didn’t go in. He stood in front of it, and he started to talk to the people passing by, to the parliamentarians going in. He wanted to understand what went wrong, he wanted to know what could be done about it. People joined in. For months and months in a row there were popular assemblies outside of parliament, and lots of music. Come Christmas time the people decided they had talked enough, they would hold a silent protest every day. That’s when the government really got scared. They resorted to violence by sending in a group of drunken infiltrators to break up the protest. The plan backfired. The next day a batallion of Icelandic grandmothers protected the crowd from further violence.
The government resigned.
Since then a Constituent Assembly consisting of twenty-five citizens without political affiliation have started drafting a new constitution. The work in progress can be followed every step of the way through the internet. All citizens are invited to join in by sending suggestions.
This is just one aspect of the Icelandic revolution. The people have also decided with an overwhelming majority that the banks are to be nationalised and that the state of Iceland will not pay back its debts to their British and Dutch creditors. “The EU has threatened to take us to court,” Hördur says, and he raises his middle finger. “This is our answer. They can go f*ck themselves.” Applause.
Iceland has decided to make a fresh start. But in order to do so, justice must prevail. During the last fifteen years the country has been ravaged by financial pirates and political corruption beyond all imagination. A thorough criminal investigation is under way. It’s going to be a difficult and dangerous task. The Norwegian lawyer specialised in corporate crimes, who will lead the investigation, can count on round-the-clock protection from fifteen bodyguards, because the people she is up against do not mess around. But even if it takes years, the full truth will be exposed. It’s a promise, says Hördur. These bankers are not going to be bailed out.
They are going to be locked up.