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In anticipation of D-day

So tomorrow is Saturday weekly demonstration day.

After a series of heated protests in November, things seem to be cooling down. Last Saturday a mere 1,500 people showed up to demonstrate [according to police – 2,500 according to the protest organizers], down from 6-7,000 the week before [say police, 11-12,000 according to the organizers].

Fréttablaðið has a report today examining this trend and various possible causes. A number of questions are raised, such as whether Nicelanders have finally succumbed to their quintessential apathy, or whether this is merely a short break for Christmas before people’s anger flares up again and they take to the streets even more fiercely than before.

The reporter interviews a handful of people, including a couple of clergymen, a psychologist, and Hörður Torfason, troubador and the main organizer of the protests. He forecasts a new wave of demonstrations after Christmas, when people are finally out of work and have nothing festive to look forward to – just the bleakness of midwinter. One of the clergymen feels people’s anger has not subsided – we’re just busy with other things at this time. Meanwhile, the psychologist believes that, as a nation, we have passed through the anger phase of this trauma and now a new phase has begun, namely the processing.

I tend to think he’s right. I do have a feeling that much of the rage has subsided – but that does NOT mean that we’re willing to return to the status quo. At least not me. What has not changed is that my regard for the people who govern here, who are at the helm of the Central Bank and head the Financial Supervisory Authority, is nonexistent. I have no little or no respect for these people [more for some than others, admittedly] and am still utterly appalled at the fact that they have not resigned or, at the very least, shown a little humility. It’s insufferable.

I have tried to make it to the demonstrations over the last few weeks whenever I’ve been able to – I haven’t always been successful [last week I caught the tail-end of the last speech … the demo lasted only half an hour, not the usual hour] but I feel it’s important to get down there and at least be counted. However, I completely understand the people who can’t make it during this season – there’s so much to do, and at the end of the day your kids’ end-of-season ballet performance or piano recital is more important than going to a demonstration. Even if it is a worthy cause.

Meanwhile, there was an interesting poll published along with the report, taken from the website persona.is [it’s all about psychology]. The question was: What feeling do you most prominently have in connection with the current circumstances in this country? The greatest number, or 33%, said fear or anxiety, 28% said anger, 15% grief, 13% sadness and 11% shame.

[Weather is the same as last post!]

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  • Ljósmynd DE December 12, 2008, 10:15 pm

    I was somehow disappointed about the weak participation, when I passed Austurvöllur last Saturday at a quarter to four. Just some leftover protesters by then, the others seemed to have merged into the shopping crowd or filled the surrounding cafes. I was wondering, if people had been bought by the miracolous rise of the krona in the wake of the (virtual) flotation last week.
    I hope you will find more fellow activists tomorrow and new creative ways to make your voices heard – in Iceland and abroad.
    And I hope nobody feels compelled to try it the Greek way as this would certainly discredit any action.

  • alda December 12, 2008, 10:32 pm

    Last week the demonstration was over at 3.30 so no wonder you felt it was weak at 3.45!

  • Daniel December 13, 2008, 1:42 am

    If only the Nicelanders were as rebellious as the Greeks.

  • James December 13, 2008, 1:52 am

    I heard there will be 17 minutes silence this Saturday. Why is that?…

  • Eric December 13, 2008, 4:13 am

    “at the end of the day your kids’ end-of-season ballet performance or piano recital is more important than going to a demonstration. Even if it is a worthy cause.”

    Wow.

  • Ljósmynd DE December 13, 2008, 8:53 am

    “If only the Nicelanders were as rebellious as the Greeks.”

    Yes, a more rebellious spirit would certainly speed up things. But throwing stones at cops and devastating shops wouldn’t do the job. That doesn’t seem to be the Icelandic way anyway.

    I Germany Iceland has almost vanished from the daily newspaper headlines. Only if there is a siege of the Central Bank, or the like, we get informed – in a pretty exaggerative manner. As the government and the CB seem to care about their reputation abroad there might be a way to be heard.

  • Andrew December 13, 2008, 9:11 am

    Could the weather also be a factor?

  • hildigunnur December 13, 2008, 9:44 am

    Eric, why wow? Letting your child down isn’t an option. I’ve missed 2 demonstrations – exactly for this reason, the children’s recitals. Been on all the others.

    Why they’re scheduled at the same time as the demonstrations beats me, though. There was at least one concert, in Hallgrímskirkja, that was moved from 15:00 till 13:30 on a Saturday, so people could get downtown to the protest.

    The silence – I think it’s since so much has been said already, brilliant speeches but for the last couple of weeks starting to be repetitive. Show up, just stand there, don’t say a thing, I think it might be more scary to leaders, than the speeches. I’m going, anyway, and I hope, lots of people along.

  • James December 13, 2008, 12:08 pm

    I was just wondering why *17* minutes of it?…

  • hildigunnur December 13, 2008, 12:43 pm

    James, Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn has been in government for 17 years straight. 1 minute per year.

  • alda December 13, 2008, 12:50 pm

    James – I suspect it’s to get people to stick around for a while. People tend to come a few minutes later / leave a few minutes early to these things, so this is a way to get a number of people in the same place at the same time.

    And I agree with LDE – I wouldn’t want the same situation here as in Greece. No matter how infuriating the circumstances.

  • alda December 13, 2008, 12:51 pm

    Hildigunnur – I guess we cross-posted … I had no idea that was the reason. Cool.

  • hildigunnur December 13, 2008, 2:06 pm

    😀

  • Eric December 13, 2008, 11:24 pm

    @hildigunnur – I always risk sounding cruel when I ask these questions, but my intention is only to arouse reflection – after all, it’s your future, not mine that’s at stake. So, here goes: which helps your kids out more: (A) going to their performances or (B) trying to prevent them from having their futures destroyed by the current crisis? Obviously, you can make every effort to do both (A) and (B). And that deserves great praise. So I’m not being critical. But if (A) takes priority, then, wow.

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