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What we get up to at those demonstrations

Everyone: I have often thought how great it would be if non-Icelandic speakers could understand some of the speeches that have been delivered at the demonstrations and open citizen’s meetings held here over the last few months. They differ, obviously, depending on who is speaking, but in my view they give great insight into the passion and fervor of the Icelandic nation in these difficult times. To that end, I decided to do a quick translation of the speech given by writer Einar Már Guðmundsson at the Icesave demonstration last Thursday. [The speech is published by permission and the picture was taken by my friend Þorri.]

Self-made bondage is the strongest form of bondage. Thus wrote Sigfús Daðason, and thus is our situation today. The constitution was mortgaged without the nation being asked, and now we are to acknowledge the collateral and confess to the crime. We are confessing to a crime we did not commit. Let me quote Eva Joly: “This small country of 320,000 inhabitants is now reeling under the weight of billions of Euros of debt, which has absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of its population and which Iceland cannot afford to pay.”

Einar MarYes, we are being enslaved. The Icesave agreement is stage one, the conditions of the International Monetary Fund stage two, and so it will continue until sometime in the future, when we receive an apology for the mistake that is being made … but by then it will be too late. They say we will become the Cuba of the North if we do not ratify this agreement. But shouldn’t we add: We will become the Haiti of the North if we do ratify it. They fulfilled all the IMF’s demands – and are now plagued by a famine. On Sunday the Pope prayed for the people of Argentina, for precisely the same reason. The IMF’s austerity program has turned half of all Argentineans into paupers. That is the reason we are here today – and we oppose this. All of us. We are being made to confess to a crime we did not commit. We are to shoulder the burdens of the global financial system, to become their underdogs.

In truth, this problem is not the nation’s problem, but that of the owners of the privatized banks who vacuumed up cash using the Icesave accounts. Our problem is that the government of this country and its politicians want to remove this problem from the bank’s owners and hand it to us and – not least – to our descendants. We cannot let this happen. We oppose this – all of us.

To you inside the parliament building I say: Stop your bullshit. Stop talking about “friendly nations”, “deposit insurance”, “global community”. The “global community” is a community of wealthy nations, “deposit insurance” is the socialization of losses, and “friendly nations” is wishful thinking and does not extend to authorities, or capital. The Swedes are not our enemies, yet the Swedish financial system financed the banking system of the Baltic States when it was placed on the market – and robbed. The Swedish financial sector looks at the similar collapse of our banks and understands Gordon Brown’s arguments as well as he, himself, does – no, do not confuse this with friendship. Gordon Brown is one of the main theorists behind the financial system in London City, and its regulations, or rather its absence of regulations, became the guiding principle behind the Icelandic financial system. In light of this, none of your legal opinions matter, nor do the names of people in the negotiating committees. A financial war is raging throughout the world in which a decrepit system tries to rev its engines, and in that workshop it is our authorities who are madly shoveling the coals. One of the world’s wisest economists states: “The International Monetary Fund is a sort of debt collector for global creditors and collects revenues … for them. Amazingly, nations the world over are losing their financial and economic freedom, without resistance.” Is that not precisely what we are doing by ratifying the Icesave agreement? We are allowing ourselves to taken into debt bondage without the slightest resistance. We are being made responsible for an utterly irresponsible financial system – although we were previously told the opposite. The owners of the banks held positions of such tremendous responsibility. Which is why they needed to be paid exorbitant salaries and bonuses. In other words: the profits are privatized, the losses nationalized. If we ratify this, we can be made to ratify anything. Even in the underworld this would be considered offensive.

It does not matter whether the Icesave agreement is good or bad. It is, by nature, wrong. The government must show us the assets*. This is what we have been saying for a long time, and now an American expert shows up and says precisely the same thing. The American expert knows, as we do, that when a football team buys a player, the owners and managers know the physical condition of the player. They don’t just sign the deal and then wait for the fattest man in the world to show up, who can neither run nor kick the ball. News of the Landsbanki assets is just as misleading. If they weren’t, the British would have just taken them, but they don’t want to. They want to take us. There’s such good collateral in us.

It’s plain and simple fraud. The owners and managers of Landsbanki are running many companies and all sorts of operations. They have caused so much damage with this company of theirs that their other firms and assets should be seized. No one has the right to bankrupt a nation like this. And a nation that allows itself to be bankrupted like this – what will be its eulogy? The money from the Icesave accounts flowed straight to the tycoons and their businesses. The Baugur Group companies owe hundreds of billions. Assets are transferred between companies, but the debts are left behind. And they never lack any legal opinions!

Shall we just let them get away with it? Or shall we teach them to do math, and put the equal sign in the right place? The dividend payments alone from the bubble companies that have now been taken over by the state were as high as the state’s Icesave liabilities. As were the takings of Icelandic tycoons who bet against the Icelandic krona. The government is doing a poor job of promoting our side – unsurprisingly, since it still has the entire administrative system of the previous government in place. And where is the president now with all his connections? Or does he only associate with tycoons and financial speculators?

We have to ask ourselves: At the end of the day, what has been successful in our society? Not the self-satisfied ignorance that has only taken from this society, and not given anything back. The struggles of the common people have been successful. Last century’s struggles gave us a strong welfare system, an educational system, a health care system, telephone lines, swimming pools, pension funds … I could go on. The so-called “góðæri” [years of prosperity] meant that the successes arising from the class struggle, the joint wealth of the public, was privatized and turned into a commodity. What were previously the joint assets of the people: the fish in the sea, the telephone company, the banks, for example, were handed to private individuals on a silver platter and subsequently squandered. The “góðæri” meant that so-called “dead capital”, that is, these joint assets of the people, was set in motion. The motion of this capital created turnover in society, prosperity … but now the motion has stopped. There was a crash. The people’s capital has been spent on useless junk, on glass palaces and parties, and there is hardly anything left to sell. Although a large part of the “góðæri” was an economic bubble, based on illusions, let us not forget that it was founded on the real assets of the people: the fish, the pension funds and the state-owned companies. The pension funds have now been sucked dry with the help of utterly corrupt governments and the privatization of the banks allowed tycoons to leverage companies and institutions and pay themselves dividends without any real value being created. The common assets of the people, the “dead capital” was wasted. It is our task to recover those assets. We must construct a new economic system in which the nation owns the resources and everything it is entitled to according to the constitution: the right to utilize its own natural resources and the fishing quotas in the sea. We must fight the curse of corruption, and thus I say:

You, who live with an island in your heart
and the expanse of the cosmos
pavement under your feet:

Hand me the northern lights!
I shall dance with the youth
holding the stars

Let us skin the darkness
and behead the misery.

* The assets of Landsbanki, which are to go towards settling the Icesave debt, the value of which is unknown.

Einar Már Guðmundsson is one of Iceland’s most celebrated writers. His most recent book is Hvíta bókin [The White Book], based on his speeches over the last few months. It is due to be released in English in the near future.

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  • hildigunnur August 17, 2009, 12:07 am

    And the saddest of all, people seem now to be ready to vote for the parties that put us in this sorry state once again!

  • Lissa August 17, 2009, 12:12 am

    Wow.

  • Andri August 17, 2009, 12:21 am

    Thank you for this, Einar Már is a great man and this translation is very important IMO.

  • Anonymous August 17, 2009, 12:46 am

    I fear they will come for our resources one day. That day NATO will have use for its anti-eco exercises.

  • Stephen Cowdery August 17, 2009, 2:29 am

    Absolutely brilliant, in its application to to Iceland and to the world as a whole. I hope this speech reaches a wider audience.

  • Bill August 17, 2009, 3:12 am

    Very well articulated, and moving. You’ve got my humble donation. It’s always the artists – only the artists – who can actually express these things in clear, human, unsentimental, poetic terms. Thank god for such people who not only ‘get it’, but can express it, and have the stature to be able to mold opinion.

  • Alexander E. August 17, 2009, 4:19 am

    Thanks for excellent translation, Alda.
    And hard to argue with Einar Már on that. I assume the original is as good as text above 😉

    But… what to do? That’s the question.
    Should I Google for Molotov cocktail recipe? Buy a gas mask? 🙂

    PS. My last two posts (if they get through) to previous entry should be
    here but I swear I didn’t read Einar’s speech when writing my stuff.

  • Dave Hambidge August 17, 2009, 5:59 am

    Now that is a very fine speech that also reads brilliantly. I only hope that the message is heard.

    Alda, many thanks to you for doing / arranging the transcription.

  • Ljósmynd DE August 17, 2009, 7:42 am

    Thank you for this translation. The speech is very moving and certainly provides insight into the motivation of many of the protesters (which is possibly not the motivation of Davið Oddsson demonstrating)

    There is an article by Michael Hudson in the FT taking a similar line:

    https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f3a6cf22-8a8b-11de-ad08-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

    And as Einar Már Guðmundsson is speaking of the president – is anything known about him or is he intent on remaining in hiding until 2012? The recent dealings of the Icesave problem in parliament could have provided a situation for a president to step in and remind the parties to listen to the people and stop their quarrels driven by use of tactics. But the current office holder did obviously not show up, or did I miss it?

  • WiseWoman August 17, 2009, 10:19 am

    Very eloquent – the translation has so much power in it, the original must have been even more powerful! But the question from above is indeed valid: what to do?

  • Peter Reeves August 17, 2009, 10:54 am

    There you have it. Brilliant speech, excellent translation.

    But the worst could yet befall us, if we do not stop it now!

    The banks let loose again will just recycle the stolen money.

    Having weakened the nation, they will try to purchase it.

  • James August 17, 2009, 11:02 am

    Interesting speech. Thanks for translating it. “They have caused so much damage with this company of theirs that their other firms and assets should be seized. No one has the right to bankrupt a nation like this.” – hear, hear!

  • Simon Brooke August 17, 2009, 11:44 am

    You know, I have huge affection for Iceland as a nation and for its people, and huge sympathy for Iceland’s present plight. Yes, the international banking system is unjust and iniquitous. Yes, you have been robbed blind by a parcel of rogues. Yes, the nations of Europe are acting like bullies.

    But. But!

    You aren’t innocent. These were your banks, nationalised and regulated by your government which you voted for. Iceland isn’t a big community; you knew there were some scandalous relationships between your bankers and your legislators, and yet you continued to vote for the same people, the same parties – the ones you knew had their hands in the till – until the crash.

    I’m not saying that Iceland should take all the blame, all the responsibility, or, critically, all of the debt. I don’t think that at all. It is simply wrong – in any nation – that profit should be private and loss, public. The people who should pay are the rogues, the politicians and businessmen who did the deals and got the ‘loans’ and ran the banks into the wall; and those, of course, are precisely the people who are getting away unscathed.

    But you, as a nation, knew your Independence Party were a parcel of rogues when you voted them back into power in 2007. You, as a community, have to take a share of the blame (as we in Scotland must, too, for the collapse of our banks). If you say ‘we’re being unfairly treated‘, well, everyone can see that’s true, and you’ll find you have a lot of good will throughout the world, people who will be prepared to add their voices to your argument. But if you say ‘we’re completely innocent, this had nothing to do with us‘, then that isn’t true, and you will lose sympathy.

  • Andrew August 17, 2009, 12:14 pm

    That was a great speech! That was also a great translation! 🙂

    One thing I was wondering about. This issue is all about the British and Dutch governments having to refund the Icesave customers and demanding that the Icelandic government refunds the British and Dutch governments.

    One thing that is missing is what happened to the Icelandic customers of Icelandic banks? Did they lose money? If so – are they being refunded?

  • alda August 17, 2009, 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the input, everyone!

    Simon – your point is one that we hear repeatedly around here and which I will never be able to agree with, i.e. “you elected those bunch of morons so you should just shut up and stop complaining” … or something to that effect.

    I’m tempted to take this up in a separate post, but let me just say this. A large share of the population here did NOT vote for the Independence Party. Are we then culpable? Sure, you might argue that in a democracy everyone is responsible because that’s the nature of democracy. BUT one of the cornerstones of democracy is the dissemination of information – and sadly, we have not had free access to information here in Iceland in decades. The media was largely owned by the tycoons, reporters were punished for publishing showing them and/or the IP in a negative light, and the main newspaper in this country for years on end – indeed, the only one that managed to survive for more than a couple of decades – was the mouthpiece of the IP.

    How were the people of this nation supposed to gain an objective view of the people they were electing? Particularly when many of those same people were presenting one thing, and conducting themselves behind the scenes in a completely different manner. You write: you knew there were some scandalous relationships between your bankers and your legislators, and yet you continued to vote for the same people, the same parties – the ones you knew had their hands in the till – until the crash. — No, we did not!! The Icelandic public did not know HALF of what was going on here – the cesspool of corruption and deceit is just opening up now for all of us here, just as much as it is for the outside world.

  • Dave Hambidge August 17, 2009, 2:11 pm

    And for the record, that’s a mighty fine little speech of you own, ma’am!

  • kevin o'connor waterford Ireland August 17, 2009, 2:36 pm

    Yes good speech in a nutshell I guess.What happens to bad fraudster’s in China
    https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/08/05/world/AP-AS-China-Death-Sentence.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss
    What are you going to do? have another revolution as this Icesave thing seems to be signed up for as a done deal and seen as you have all the liabilities what about the general volk getting all the assets too, or is that too marxist anyway comrades keep the red flag flying there !!.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson August 17, 2009, 2:54 pm

    Andrew, the Icelandic government nationalised the banks last October to ensure that the banks could continue to function inside Iceland. The “average” bank customer, with their wages (on low interest) deposited in the banks did not lose their money but those with more high-risk accounts (similar to the icesave accounts) did in many cases lose substantial amounts.
    There were different accounts for the different banks, in some cases the customers have been fully refunded and in other they do not seem to have received much.

  • Bromley86 August 17, 2009, 3:02 pm

    But Alda, I think Simon’s point would be (and mine certainly is) that the buck has to stop somewhere. That’s what it means to be a sovereign state. Ultimately, the one thing that everyone can agree on, is that Iceland is one and that that was the overwhelming will of it’s people.

    @Andrew. The basic answer to your question is that they’ve been refunded in full. Of course, it’s not that simple as some of that refund is effectively borrowed money, so everyone will be paying for it. Also, pensions and savings have, I believe, taken a hammering. Likewise, I suspect that anyone holding Icelandic shares has lost huge amounts.

  • geo8rge August 17, 2009, 3:18 pm

    Back in the old days I thought the way a bank failure was supposed to work is the share holders were wiped out, depositors (who really loaned money to the bank) were to join bond holders in owning the assets (loans made by the bank). I do not see why this is not the way it is being handled.

    As the loans were made, I thought, in UK and Netherlands why can’t the respective governments either collect the loans or pay the loans for the failed borrowers.

    I also do not understand why people who purposely invested in high yielding offshore banks are being made whole. People who invested conservatively are being punished to bail those people out.

    Beyond Iceland I am shocked that the shareholders of LLoyds were forced to bail out the government of UK by combining with HBOS, losing their own investments in the process. But I am straying off topic.

    An American speech:
    William Jennings Bryan, “Cross of Gold” speech
    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/1900/filmmore/reference/primary/crossofgold.html

  • wally August 17, 2009, 4:03 pm

    it was less than two years ago that an organisation called “transparency international” or something like that voted Iceland the No 1 least corrupt nation in the world.
    The only people that knew how rotten this society was were the crooks.
    Also, I dont think the IP ever had a majority in recent years, they were always in coalition with another party. Hardly a ringing endorsement from the entire country.
    I dont believe we are completely innocent but surely we can share the blame a little bit!

  • Ljósmynd DE August 17, 2009, 4:29 pm

    The corrupt Icelandic politicians and fraudsters did not only deceive their own people. They were apparently able to fool international organisations like Transparency International, who should have had the expertise to detect corruption but nevertheless put Iceland for several years on top of the list of least corrupt countries and such failed sadly.

    I take it as a strong indication, that the ordinary Icelander could not have overseen, what was happening behind the scene.

    Of course, I know Icelanders, who always had a feeling that something was wrong about the economy and smelled the corruption. But there was still a large gap between this vague feelings and reality.

    There were even a lot of reports on the traps, Icelands economy was facing. But they were fought against by politicians and bankers and their lawyers with a vengeance. I can’t blame the ordinary Icelander for this. It would have been the responsibility of the politicians to draw the right conclusions as they should have had the insight. But all you got was a president, fantasizing about the special Icelandic environment, which had brought about this economic miracle. What kind of consequences should the ordinary Icelander have drawn then.

    Sure, everybody could have asked questions about the sudden collective wealth. But I take it, this was a collective hype, unquestioned by the media.

    And leaving all legal reasoning behind, which could go on endless – it’s still the same political class, which failed to avert damage from the people and is now trying to dump the debts of Icesave on them. If I were an Icelander, I wouldn’t trust them at all.

    But it would be devastating for Iceland all the more, should the same politicians, who brought about this disaster, return to power.

  • Lissa August 17, 2009, 4:42 pm

    Something I learned in my macro-econ class back at college was that, at this level, it is all imaginary money. It only has value if you can trick people into believing it does.

    I think David Oddson understood this. And that the tricking continues.

  • Bromley86 August 17, 2009, 5:04 pm

    Back in the old days I thought the way a bank failure was supposed to work is the share holders were wiped out, depositors (who really loaned money to the bank) were to join bond holders in owning the assets (loans made by the bank). I do not see why this is not the way it is being handled.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, because it’s no longer the old days 🙂 .

    The big change between now and then is that governments have accepted that runs on banks are contagious and a perfectly healthy bank can be subject to a run just because depositors are panicking (which is actually the rational response in that situation). Therefore, deposit insurance, which usually guarantees a percentage or the entirety of balances up to a certain amount.

    The EU is all about lowering restrictions to trade/capital within its borders. The EEA expands this sphere to include a few non-EU states, including Iceland. The EU required a minimum deposit insurance (about 20k euros per person/entity).

    So banks are allowed to operate unimpeded in other member states. Where a branch setup is used, as was the case with Landsbanki/Icesave, the guarantee and the responsibility for regulating rests with the home state, not the host state.

    So it wasn’t quite the same as depositing (note, not investing) with an offshore bank. Also, whilst at or just off the top of the interest rate tables, the Icesave rates weren’t that much better than others.

    On the Lloyds front, and bearing in mind I’ve not really followed it, it’s my understanding that Lloyds thought it was getting a good deal in that it was being allowed a merger that would normally have fallen foul of competition problems. The Lloyds management thought that the long-term interests of their shareholders would be best served by grabbing this opportunity. I’d be very surprised if they were given an offer that they couldn’t refuse.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson August 17, 2009, 5:11 pm

    Transparency international did not vote Iceland “the least corrupt country in the world”.
    They asked business people in each country if they encountered corruption in their day to day dealings with the government and elsewhere and then compared the result.
    They tried to measure “percieved corruption” and found Iceland to be lowest on their scale.
    They never claimed Iceland was free from corruption and I think, when the dust settles, we will realise that Iceland still has little corruption, compared to other nations.

  • Ljósmynd DE August 17, 2009, 6:03 pm

    I think, when the dust settles, we will realise that Iceland still has little corruption, compared to other nations.

    Sorry, but I have been reading about Icelandic nepotism, cronyism etc. endlessly in all kind of media for a while now. I have a very different perception. It’s possibly a different kind of corruption than in other countries, where e.g. without bribe there is no civic assignment. The Icelandic kind of corruption seems to be rather owed to its tininess and ensuing personnel interconnections, which might not be so obvious to external institutions and businesses, explaining the TI corruption index of 2004 ff. Once again, maybe Iceland is “special” in this respect 😉

  • alda August 17, 2009, 6:14 pm

    LDE – or maybe not. 😉 I agree with you. I think Iceland is very corrupt and that this is not just a “phase”.

  • Simon Brooke August 17, 2009, 6:17 pm

    Alda, you misrepresent me in saying ‘ “you elected those bunch of morons so you should just shut up and stop complaining” … or something to that effect.‘. I’m not saying you should stop complaining. I’m not saying you have all the responsibility, by any means – the main responsibility has to lie with your kakocrats and kleptocrats and soi disant ‘business leaders’. I’m not arguing that the state and people of Iceland should repay the debt at all – these are private debts of private banks and should be met by the officers and shareholders of those banks, and by them alone.

    But what I’m saying is that you can’t claim you have no responsibility at all. While your point about the control of the press is well made (I’m once again reminded how lucky Britain is to have the BBC – if we didn’t, virtually the whole of our media would be in the hands of right-wing foreign interests), it isn’t true that the people of Iceland ‘knew nothing’.

    As you yourself have written:

    The privatization process itself was riddled with corruption allegations. The government had decided to privatize two of Iceland’s largest commercial banks… The privatization was undertaken on very clear terms: distributed ownership, so that no one large investor could have too much control…

    Before the privatization of the two banks was completed, however, there was an uproar in the privatization committee. The head of the committee abruptly resigned, stating that the terms of the privatization had been grossly violated and that the leaders of the two coalition parties in government were intervening excessively in its execution.

    And, Iceland is not alone in funking this crisis. Here in Scotland, too, our banks have been literally destroyed by greedy and irresponsible people; and here as well, those people are walking away with their fortunes largely intact while the community as a whole picks up the bill.

    The lesson which we have to learn is that neither Scotland nor Iceland can afford to have banks which are ‘too big to fail’. Banks should not be allowed to have limited liability status – their owners and shareholders should be forced to stand behind them, and not walk away when it all goes wrong.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson August 17, 2009, 6:19 pm

    Alda, Iceland is very corrupt, do not misunderstand me on that.
    Other countries are just more corrupt, I fear.

  • Simon Brooke August 17, 2009, 6:22 pm

    @Geo8rge

    I also do not understand why people who purposely invested in high yielding offshore banks are being made whole. People who invested conservatively are being punished to bail those people out.

    This, too, is an extremely good point.

  • James August 17, 2009, 6:22 pm

    Lissa – ‘Twas Isaac Newton who stated around 300 years ago “Tis mere opinion that sets a value upon money; we value it because with it we can purchase all sorts of commodities and the same opinion sets a like value upon paper security… All the difference is … that the value of the former is more universal than that of the latter.” But, then again, he was using that argument to justify creating an enormous amount of money from nothing (to fund an ongoing war) by introducing paper money to the UK!

  • Ljósmynd DE August 17, 2009, 6:53 pm

    Just to do Iceland justice: in case you should join the EU, you would definitely not be the country with the most corruption in the EU, howsoever this might be measured. 😉

  • alda August 17, 2009, 7:03 pm

    Simon – it is true that the privatization process was riddled with corruption allegations – but that’s just what they were: allegations. We didn’t know a fraction then of what we know now.

  • Col Matheson August 17, 2009, 9:30 pm

    I would like to believe that many of the students in Icelandic schools and colleges would have read this speech, if not, perhaps they should, it will serve them well in the future. Also it would be nice to believe that some might commit to memory, the short profound poem at its end.

  • TMCD August 17, 2009, 10:12 pm

    Thank you ever so much for the translation.
    Bless 🙂

  • pinkpackrat August 17, 2009, 11:05 pm

    Thanks Alda for doing that wonderful translation. That is one powerful speech filled with hard truth– and the poem at the end says it all about character, pride, and love of country. Thank you thank you thank you!

  • maría August 18, 2009, 2:40 am

    So, what to do? How are Icelanders going to pull through? How are they going to overcome all the difficulties while at the same time keeping their awesome nature intact? How are they going to still be Europe’s sanctuary? Because I can’t see how you can recover from a situation like this withouth sacrificing an awful lot. It’s sad. I don’t know anything about the big things but I do know I discovered Iceland not too long ago in terms of my own implication in the problems of the inhabitants and my respect for the country as a whole, only to find them in this situation (my best friend living amongst them and all).

    By the way, talking about corruption: greetings from Spain…………….

  • tom joseph akak tj3 August 18, 2009, 1:48 pm

    what an amazing speech by Einar Már Guðmundsson and what a bunch of relevant comments on this after.

    No matter the position of each commenter, all taken together it is a discussion, a real discussion! Good god who ever heard of such a thing!

    I think (who cares) that the Icesave agreement was the best that can be expected by conventional politics. Though I (who cares) favor greater change, it is not going to happen yet, it may.

    Einar Már Guðmundsson is certainly talking about greater change than a compromise to keep Iceland in the international game of politics and finance.

    This is the end of an era just what the new era will be we cannot say but we could have intentions. Will we just respond to the debts of the past? Will we have no present or future?

    In the USA the corrupt nature of our politics and finance is staggering and the scale of it is unfortunate for Iceland. Iceland still can be a leader in going forward as the USA will probably not be.

    Will Iceland be better than be a slave to the crimes and debts and corruption of the recent past? I think that is what Einar Már Guðmundsson was asking. Am I reading this right?

  • paul August 18, 2009, 5:34 pm

    I did a search for the words “feast” and “rare delectables” and I came upon this article:

    https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/07/g8.japan?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

    Gordon Brown is apparently doing all right, no wonder he’s proposing harsh and cruel austerity measures for Iceland, someone has to pay for his “rare delectables.”