It's Like a Time Warp Happened and the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Our Tjörnin

I was looking through old posts, which is very entertaining for me as I always find something I'd forgotten all about. This is one of those things. The photo is of our Tjörnin town lake, taken from the western side and looking over to Skólavörðurholt. The lovely Fríkirkjan church and the National Gallery of Iceland are there lakeside on the righthand side of the picture, and up above and to the left of the Fríkirkjan spire is Hallgrímskirkja, dressed in scaffolding and webbing for renovation.

It's not the photo, though, that interests me today, but the text. It seems so
distant somehow, so long-ago, or maybe as if whatever I recorded as happening back then didn't, actually. Yes, Jóhanna sat as Prime Minister, and did quite a lot to ease us out of the trauma of the Crash of 2008, but after taking the kind of beating politicians have to deal with these days (regardless of their capabilities...the nature of the political game in the 21st century is war, and dirty, mean, media-fueled war at that) she chose to not run for re-election, and to retire from politics in 2013.

And guess what Iceland did next? We voted back in the same seemingly-extremely corrupt pack (quote from that link: "If the United States and Europe got drunk on easy money, Iceland was the guy at the party who was unconscious in the corner." Some people are even willing to go on record with claims that booze is definitely not the right metaphor or even a factor - cocaine and pharms being the more likely enhancers in question ; ) of capitalist, nepotistic, self-serving wolves who steered our nation directly into the iceberg that was the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

The same scoundrels made new promises in '13 and we, glassy-eyed with inflowing tourist money (see the link below to the LA Times article) and under-the-table AirBnb profits, bought into their latest get-rich-quick schemes and promises, to our current chagrin.  

The other pretty dated information from my original post is the EU thing. I personally am glad we aren't in that union, which just seems like Trouble, with a capital T. I googled "EU news" to find a juicy current-affairs link, but there's frankly so much dissent and issue that I had a hard time choosing a story. Here's one, though, just to whet the appetite. Peoples who've been arguing amongst themselves, and warring hardcore, for nearly two millennia, don't seem like the kind of company I'd like our national psyche to be spending time with, no matter how diplomatic their exterior sheen.

[Update on Tuesday the 9th: In other temporal-travelly, reality-warping news, Iceland just found out via an official-sounding web site that the US Navy will be - excuse me, would like to be - returning  here after wrapping up their 55-year "protective occupation" in 2006. My father was a Navy man, and his stepfather Stanley, who adopted him at an early age, was Army giving him US citizenship and the base was a huge part of his earlier life, so I have no judgement on that era at all.

I'm just a bit blown away that no one knew about this here. It's almost like someone's news alert for keyword "Iceland" made the Navy's article show up and there you have it, locals, whether you like it or not!

Who knows in all honesty what's really going on in global strategic politics/saber rattling these days to truly prompt this new occupation (yes, I'm going to call it that); all I'm going to say is this:

There's never been a question in my mind that we'd be occupied sooner or later, at the very least economically, if not via soft migration invasion or the more aggressive sort. I guess I was hoping it would be our oldest masters, the Norwegians in the end...]

Here's what I posted  originally in 2009 :

Today a new Prime Minister takes over, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (definitely check out the link about her...very cool stuff!)

The Pots and Pans revolution (protestors banged on kitchenware incessantly for days outside the House of Parliament) that took place over the past two weeks was a resounding success in that the sitting two party coalition collapsed under its own weight, making room for a political shuffling. Not everyone is happy with the new government (hi Dad!) but the fact that the old *regime* folded so easily must say something about how tenuous the parties' collaboration had become.

Iceland is still in a muddle, and it seems that every day some news of corruption or of ethically unsound business practice is floating to the surface like so much pond scum. The Guardian revealed this week that Iceland may be fast-tracked into the EU which is cool, but a fairly humbling kind of continental triage.

The good news is, though, that Iceland is really inexpensive now, as this LA Times article nicely describes. Pack your bags and we'll see you all soon!

3 comments:

Iceland Eyes said...

Update: my friend Paul Fontaine at the Reykjavik Grapevine wrote about the Navy thing in September: http://grapevine.is/news/2015/09/10/us-military-possibly-returning-to-iceland/, but it still seems like no one here was really informed of the most current plans. Either that, or the Stars and Stripes article itself is just more saber-rattling...

Professor Batty said...

Another great post, you have been on a roll lately. Reading them is as if I was sitting across the table from you in Reykjavík Roasters again. I've been too busy to comment much lately but I have been faithfully following your ruminations—a new Iceland Eyes is always a special part of my day.

Iceland Eyes said...

Warmest hugs to you, Professor! I'm recycling and adapting, reworking texts I first posted on facebook, etc. It totally helps to get completely out of 'for tourists' mode ; )

Hope all is well with you and yours!