Thursday, October 9, 2008

We are truly sorry

We, members of the Icelandic nation, are truly sorry for the problems we have caused, and plead guilty with an explanation.

Apart from a brief interlude during the era of the Vikings, we have pretty much kept to ourselves, sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean.

During the last 3 decades of last century we managed to build up a fairly nice and open economy, where everyone had equal opportunity to succeed, get educated, get taken care of if they got sick, with politicians which were unable to do much damage as everyone pretty much agreed how things should be.

We were given access to the European Economic Area in the early 90's, which was generally regarded as the diet version of the European Union, where we would become members shortly.

This gave us access to the European markets, opened up the free flow of finance, gave our best and brightest the opportunity to go forth and seek their fortune in foreign lands, and for a while things worked fine.

Some of our eccentric quirks turned out to be good PR, and Björk and Sigur Rós suddenly became famous. Our smarter side was put to use in creating successful high technology products, where we enabled people that had lost legs to run in the Olympics, other people to play massively multiplayer online games and we suddenly found that we could create stuff that worked, was useful and people all over the world were willing to buy.

So we didn't pay as much attention to our politicians as we should have, who seemed mired in the politics of the last century, not of the century to come.

That turned out to be a big mistake, one which will cost us dearly.

In their squabbles for domestic power, blatant pandering to their own constituents, and general ineptness (in their defence, they're not well paid), they kept on with business as usual, while a handful of businessmen - and their cronies - started business unusual.

The privatisation of our banks was handled by the politicians in the usual manner, with one bank going to members in good standing of the long-ruling Independence Party, and the other to members in good standing of the equally long-ruling Progressive Party (which nagging tongues claim is neither).

Since we were used to lax regulation, so as not to hinder the political parties to give tidbits to their members, we didn't really put in place a pesky regulatory scheme to keep checks and balances on the entire system, and the schemes we put in place were ignored when needed.

The newly privatised banks were quickly turned into international powerhouses, fueled by cheap loans, mostly foreign. The third bank, which was private to begin with, also took advantage of cheap loans to grow.

Meanwhile, we used the Icelandic Central Bank as a retirement home for politicians we needed to get rid of from the political scene, as throughout the history of the Central Bank it had never really needed to do anything and therefore was considered to be a safe place to store them, maintaining their delusion of grandeur and allowing them to double dip into their pensions while still being on the government payroll.

Before we knew it the owners of the three banks had broken faith with the rest of us, refused to travel with us, pay taxes with us or live amongst us, preferring to live in London and fly up occasionally in their private jets, and while here drive around in Bentleys and Range Rovers, which they apparently impulse bought - all black, unless it was for the wife, then white.

They were careful to spread the wealth, hiring lots of people at 3 to 30 times normal wages, sponsored concerts of international stars and seemed to have unlimited opportunities. Before this, the only major concerts we'd seen were Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin in the early 70s, Smokie in the late 70's, one Clash concert in the early 80s and a tour of the Israeli guys from the Eurovision song contest who sang the Hubba Hulle Hulle Hulle song.

So we were dazzled.

Our prime minister got into occasional fights with the nouveau riche, who - after buying all the media companies (and adding some more) - explained that he was just jealous.

The prime minister got sick, nearly lost an election, and was put out to pasture as the Head Honcho of the Icelandic Central Bank, a process we had used before with little damage.

So when it turned out that the couple of handful of super-rich Londoners had in effect built a Ponzi scheme, we were ill equipped to deal with it.

The chief of the Central Bank was the politician that hadn't wanted to put in place all the pesky rules and regulations when he privatized the banking system. He had run a relaxed and lax oversight system.

Our new prime minister is the former second in command of the politician in the Central Bank, and it is not clear to us - or to him - or to the politician in the central bank whether the changing of the guard has really taken place.

Our finance minister is a veterinarian who lost internal elections in his party to a guy recently convicted of fraud involving public funds.

Our foreign minister, the only person in Icelandic politics strong enough to stand up to the old guard, was diagnoced with benign cancer in the brain and was rushed into surgery in New York and banned from travelling for a few weeks, so she is out of action.

So when the whole scheme imploded due to the international credit crunch, we didn't really know what hit us.

Suddenly all of our banks failed.

Suddenly we found out that we - as a nation - were responsible for sizable sums that the super rich had gotten people in other nations to deposit with them, without having asked us for permission.

We suddenly found that it was generally not a good idea to have on the front line people who had been selected to be there due to their quality of seeming harmless.

People who are so overwhelmed by the position they're in that they cannot even do the obvious and inevitable; say they're sorry and ask for help.

People who are willing to go to Putin's Russia to bail us out - that bastion of civilization, human rights and good will to all men.

So for that, the damage this has caused, the money lost, and the misery caused, we'd like to say:

We're sorry, please help.

P.S. The super rich have left in their private jets. You'll find them in London - with their, our and parts of your wealth.

100 comments:

Miguel - Lisbon, EU said...

Coming from a small and relatively poor country I can only relate too well with your sense of hopelessness in face of a seemingly overwhelming situation.

Don't expect much help from other European *governments*, when shit hits the fan it's every country for itself as usual.
Now the EU Commission on the other hand is an entirely different story and it truly looks out for the member states despite what the governments try to make the population believe.

I know that joining the EU is controversial in Iceland because of your fisheries and I can relate with you on that too. Portugal had the largest exclusive fishery zone in the world and it was a hotly debated issue here too. Let me tell you this, fish is good but you don't build infrastructure or pay your debts in fish alone.

Formalize an application to the EU and the commission will look out for you. And even if you find that somewhat unpalatable you have to agree that it beats getting in Putin's pocket.

We are rooting for you as only someone that saw their own country in dire straights once can. Good luck and best wishes fellow Europeans.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Miguel, Lisbon. I think this shows Iceland is better off on its own. As someone in Britain I can tell you the EU is parochial, arrogant and convinced of its own greatness, full of the politicians that brought ruin to your country. I wish we could leave because the EU's wrecked Britain.

yrsa said...

As an Icelander currently living in Sydney, Australia with hardly any information on what's going on back home I find it quite frustrating having to rely on local news media for information (which is usually 1-2 days old when published here) and seem to get all their information from their 'mates' back in the 'home country' so its not exactly accurate and at times seems biased.

I too feel the frustration of not knowing what will happen to the money I have in savings accounts with Landsbanki, is it gone or not?

At least I know if Landsbanki really will go under that 'my' government has promised to make sure I'll get my money back - by taking it out of my tax-krona.

Unfortunately the people in other countries might not even get that. I feel for these people and just hope things will work out or at least not get worse. Fingers crosses.

I'm glad someone from Iceland decided to post this apologise, its a pity though its not the people responsible. Obviously they don't have the backbone it would take to say that one simple work; 'sorry'.

*********************************

Kæri Íslendingur/ar

kærar þakkir fyrir að pósta þessa afsökunarbeiðni.

Synd að það eru ekki bankarnir, pólitíkusarnir og vinir þeirra.

Þjóðin ætti líka að taka á sig hluta af skömminni, við kusum þetta fólk inná þing, hreyfðum litlum eða engum mótmælum gegn þeim og keyptum okkur svo Plasma sjónvarp á lánum ásamt öllu öðru.

kær kveðja frá Ástralíu

Binni said...

As an Icelander I cannot sign my name to this apology. I say this for myself and 99% of the population: I did not do anything wrong so why should I apologize for anything?

Suck it up and stop kneeling. Frankly it's embarasing.

Anonymous said...

During this dark hour I stand beside Iceland and its people. I suggest that Iceland return its debt to Gordon Brown not in quids but in penguins and geysers.

Arūnas,
Vilnius, LT

Anonymous said...

I'm an Icelander and I also humbly apologuise for the trouble icelandic banks have caused you all, and I truly feel sorry for all those people who are at risk of loosing their savings.

But I would also like to ask of you, to please help us find, convict and punish the people responsible and not blame the people who share your suffering. Because we had no idea that we as a nation where liable for those (exuse my language) greedy, no good, son of a bitch, asswipe, shitfaced, dirty fucking wankers depts. They have robbed us of everything, our money, our jobs, our dignity, our sleep and our economy, and now they live a nice carefree life anywhere else but here in Iceland.

Icelanders have the longest working week in Europe, men about 48 hour work week and the women a little less. There are ruggid and hard working people who inhabit this island. And it has taken the better part of the last century to slowly and painfully build up our economy. All this and more was made from blood, sweat and tears of normal working people, mostly our farmers and fishermen, not rich people who have no sense for an honest days work and have no respect for it. You know, those people who don't realise that it's all thanks to the worker, the one that turns the resources into something useful. Not a banker who thinks that money grows on wall street, stock brokers don't realise that they are bying and selling someones blood, someones sweat and someones tears, peoples lives are being traded with like any other commodity. And greedy people are making money of this, not the workers them selfs but greedy people who do not contribute anything to society, but feed of it. And under the caring arm of gutless and corrupt politicians everywhere, they are allowed to fuck us over and over, again and again.

And what it says in the apology is true and not joke. These super rich moraly bankrupt people left Iceland long ago in their private jets and took their money, that is our and your money with them.

Multi million dollar jets, helicopters and luxury cars, one owns a 23 million dollar penthouse apartment in Manhattan, and many of them live in prime locations in and around London. All in all there are around 30 people responsible for our shared dilemma, not counting our sad exuces for politicians (of all parties).

We are sorry, we are bleeding, please help us!

Our kindest regards to you all
Normal Icelanders

Anonymous said...

I agree with binni.
Icelanders can't apologize to anything.Let the people,which lost money,ask people,which take it.
Where are individual crime,can not be public responsibility.

Roland
LT

A Brit said...

I like Iceland, it is a great country with clever and industrious people, and I think that the UK should help it. It is a disgrace that Iceland is having to go cap in hand to Russia. As north Europeans we should stick together.

Procatio said...

The Brown man is fighting for his own political life, grabbing the economy crises to start a war against the Icelandic nation.

Doing this the Brown man is harming UK working class as Icelandic companies in the UK are already harmed and 55.000 jobs are now unsecure because all of this.

Icelanders. It´s clear who are our real friends. We´ve one the UK politicians before.

No apologies to Brown and his party from the Icelandic nation.

pasipiktines said...

How very touching, indeed. Well done, Icelanders. So, we will all have to get used to earning a little less than we think we are worth, spend only what's left from daily expenses (if anything), and forget borrowing against future earnings and inflated value of our estates. Sounds dreadful, but safe. Our parents lived this way.

Anonymous said...

I'm Norwegian and I just wanted to say that we like and respect you and want to be of help to you. There's trouble for a lot of people these days and I believe that SOMEHOW everything will be ok again. The Russians and the Norwegians have helped out and hopefully others will do so too. Btw. Iceland is an extremely beautiful country, which I visited last year. Will do so again. Hang in there! :-) RJ

Anonymous said...

Please, Iceland, there is no need for an apology :) . I think I can speak for the rest of the world when I say that we are not angry or anything with you. You, Iceland, are the biggest victim of this world crisis. You can blame your bankers for your particular situation, but please, don't blame yourselves. WE are in this together and only TOGETHER we can solve this.

Anonymous said...

BUY GOLD WHILE YOU CAN FOLKS...
Good luck and all the best.

Anonymous said...

I think that the reason this apology was put online is that we understand the plight of the people who have lost a considerable portion of their savings if not all. We´re in the same shoes. We do feel partially responsible because, as Yrsa posts in icelandic, we´re the ones who elected these punks to parliament.. But then again, it´s not just our banks going under, this is a worldwide occurrence and I don´t think many saw this coming.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sorry.
Not at all. And I dont whant there help. UK Suckes

boulevardie said...

Loved the way you wrote your blog post. And that's coming from someone who can rarely come up with any positive adjectives when describing anything.

Anyway, with all the authority invested in me - nada - your economic blunders have been forgiven.

Just to give you the illusion of somebody tending that Light at the end of the tunnel, I would like to point out that your economical hoopla seems to be almost over: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Country-for-sale-ICELAND-99p-start-price-no-reserve_W0QQitemZ320308801162QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item320308801162&_trkparms=72%3A1298|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12|240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

I think that is what one Hunter S. Thompson meant by "an eerie trumpet call over a lost battlefield".

Scotsman said...

This is the best analysis of the Icelandic problem I have read.

It could be applied to other countries too.

Thanks.

Scotsman said...

Good analysis of the problem.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, Iceland. You deserve better. :(

Anonymous said...

The USA still loves you, Iceland. While we're in the midst of our own financial turmoil right now, we will pressure our representatives to pressure the IMF to help you in any way we can.

Anonymous said...

I'm from the US and I'm the one that's sorry. Usually I think people are a little too willing to blame everything on the US but I'm pretty sure this one is on us.

I'm rooting for you:) And I think you'll come through this far better than the US or the EU. Iceland is not beholden to that bully Russia for energy, you can feed yourself off your fish stocks and you have a small, homogenous population, which will be willing to throw themselves into the mess and fix what can be fixed.

I'm hoping to visit you all this summer (should I not be broke) and bask in the summer sun.

Until then,
Me

Anonymous said...

I'm Icelandic and I don't feel the particular need to apologize for anything. I'm just a working stiff who has to pay for my housing loan and my car loan while the inflation in the country is running rampant and every day necessities are getting more expensive.

I didn't lose any savings because all I have is debt. Here in Iceland we have a "wonderful" thing called verðtrygging, which almost no other country has, which means that our loans are tied to the inflation. So, now that the inflation is 14% or more, my housing loan interest rate is close to 20% and rising.

Soon, I will not own any equity in my house, while a couple of years back I owned half of its estimated selling price. The loans are going up and the housing value is going down. At least I still have a job, although who knows what will happen tomorrow.

My mother's old age pension will probably be cut soon, since the pension funds have lost tons of money. This is all she has to live on in this world. I hope I will be able to help her out, but I don't know what the future will bring. Our problems are much, much worse than a few savings accounts being lost.

Perhaps a friendly country will be willing to accept us Icelandic refugees, preferably somewhere warm.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful country and a beautiful people - I hope the crisis is quickly resolved and Icelanders don't have to suffer too much for the greed of their politicians and bankers. Stay strong!

Ryan said...

Can you be the new Prime Minister? I can't move to Iceland to vote for you. But really, try to get your blog published in a local newspaper and maybe you can do it. And, I really would like to help, but I don't think I or anyoen else in the USA has much of a chance at that right now. Everything's gone to hell, and we're all on our own...

Anonymous said...

Give up the sovereignty and join Norway again.. you'll be well taken care of.

Anonymous said...

As an American, I am happy that you are finally owning up to your responsibility for this entire mess. All I can say is it's about time. It's all your fault, you bastards. Damn you, Icelander. Damn you!

Anonymous said...

You need to start trading the last great resource you have. Start exporting your women :-)

Anonymous said...

Takk félagi, þú færðu næstu fálkaorðu.

Anonymous said...

"Start exporting your women" women like Bjork no thanks

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should not blame yourself (i.e. whole nation) too much for this mess, as this a part of global mess of financial baloons, your baloon got record big so it collapsed already but look what may come next.

I have one ironic statement to add. I am from Poland and during the boom people from this country in just few years became largest group of foreign workers looking for job opportunities on the island. It was popular among these people to say they were leaving Poland for a very dynamic and rich country which Poland never can become due to the conservatism and lack of dynamism.
That was seconded by many people in Poland blaming authorities for religious approach to inflation, too much beaurocracy in controlling the banking system and general overreacting to financial problems. Now, or at least until now, the country financial system has no sign of any problem while those who moved to Iceland got a bitter pill.

K. from the Philippines said...

A very earnest piece of writing, one that elucidates about how it is for the ordinary Icelander.

We Filipinos, coming from a very poor country ourselves, are not in the position to help you financially, but we'd like to send you our felicitations and encouragement anyway.

We are a relatively small island nation of about 80 million, but should you ever need another place to stay, far away from Iceland, we have space for 300,000 more. Please just don't bring your politicians (and their hubris) with you, we have more than enough of their ilk here locally.

Best wishes to all of you, may you be able to weather your country's economic woes.

Jakob the swede said...

I was spending a week on Iceland with my family this summer. I really enjoyed the country and the people. I understand this blog and everything, but one thing we all did talk about when we were in Reykjavik:

The people of Iceland really loan a lot. I just think the people were living bigger than they could afford. In June you could se buildsites without any workers everywhere. Probably because people didn't want to loan the project more money.

Those thieves you describe (the owners/bosses on the banks), sure they've done wrong, but it's thanks to all the people taking the loans they did get so powerful. I'm not saying you shouldn't loan to buy a house/start a company or whatever, but in Iceland people seemed to loan too much and too often.

Just my thoughts, and since I really like Iceland and the it's people I hope you'll recover and maybe even learn a lesson from it.

Anonymous said...

harass, hack and ostracize the super rich

Anonymous said...

I'm Icelandic and I am sorry. especially for all the people, Icelandic and others who worked hard and lost all their savings.

My hope is that this hardship will teach us to be better people and value the most important things in our lives. -Our friends, family and health.

All nations are suffering these economic difficulties, more or less now. I truly hope we try our best to stay kind to each other and remember that war is horrible. It has happened before and it may very well happen again if we're not careful. None of us want to see our loved ones killed because of money. The world is going into a period of time when anger may seem as the only right reaction, but hurting others, one way or another, is never the answer.

A few greedy irresponsible individuals convinced us that we could spend more than we earn. We believed them because we wanted to. The worlds' economic trouble is not all our fault, but for what we're guilty of, I'm sorry.

A wish for peace

Sigrún

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I, too, don't think there's any need for a 'national' apology.

The sad thing is that it was perfectly possible to see this coming. There are even relatively recent examples in the Nordic countries. I'm Finnish. We also had a time-honored practice of parking senior politicians in the central bank. Finland deregulated its banking nearly overnight in the late 80s. Lots of jetting to London and New York ensued and many spas, hotels and such were built in the middle of nowhere in the forests of Finland. The crash came in 1990-91, triggered by a worldwide recession and the loss of trade with the Soviet Union. At the lowest point, Finland was one step from being taken over by the IMF, but was saved by Japanese lenders.

This time around we seem to be doing a least somewhat better and the banks have held up so far. It truly is too bad that Iceland did not learn from all of this, especially since the Finland and other Nordic countries have apparently been used as study cases by economists and bankers everywhere ever since.

I hope your bankcruptcy laws are more humane than ours. Some people in Finland are still saddled with unbearable debts from that time. The costs of the depression to health and well-being have been enormous.

Mikko

Anonymous said...

As an Icelander I dont think the blame lies with us. About 2 weeks ago (just before everything started) our prime minister was telling the starving public that everything was okay and they were not going to do anything.
We are victims of our incompetent politicians, that do not care about the public only them self.

Anonymous said...

I am an Icelander and I cannot feel sorry for anything - I need not apologize for anything. We have discovered the hard way how freedom can be screwed from behind, because freedom without order is bound to be a disaster.

Why?

Because we are humans - and humans are imperfect. Greed, low self-esteem and lust are all our vices that we try so hard to cover up or get rid of but our attempts fail every time. This time - spectacularly.

We Icelanders are used to hard times, we just adapt - that's at least something we are good at. And the thing with the Russians?

That is just a political side order, taking advantage of our crisis to stir up the Western world. It is much like inviting a (rather ugly) girl for a dance, while trying to drive your girlfriend mad and jealous.

Anonymous said...

We visited Iceland in the Spring, and felt very at home with you. The most telling part of your story, is that the fat cats seem no longer to want to be a part of your people, or to care for your country. I find that extremely sad, in view of your historically strong society. There is no need for you to apologise for these corrupt and greedy few. We wish you all the very best in rebuilding your future.

Kim Morris said...

Thank you for the very informative post, I now understand how an entire country can go bankrupt. I am an American, I hope to someday bring my tourist dollars to your beautiful country, to meet the wonderful people, and enjoy the hospitality of the nation.

Anonymous said...

I think Sigrún said something really good.
"A few greedy irresponsible individuals convinced us that we could spend more than we earn. We believed them because we wanted to. The worlds' economic trouble is not all our fault....."

It's not the people of Iceland's fault, but you can't blame it all on some jetsets from the banks either. When the economy turns around like it just did it will affect those who haven't been thinking about consequences mostly. Like this example, taking bigger loans than you can afford may be working fine as long as the economy is fine, but whenever some balloon bursts it will become a problem.

Jón Ingi said...

I am from Iceland.
And I am NOT sorry, couse me, my family and friends didnt do anything wrong, nor the major population in Iceland.

It is first and mainly the bankers, politicians and the national bank.

And we cannot forget that the Icelandic government tried to negotitate with the US government and they didnt listen, just turned away.

If we had help 2-3 weeks ago (as we tried to) Then none of this would never happen fact.

The national bank should have past 10-15 years collect currency (wich they didnt).

When the government sold the banks they should have put an obligation to the new owners that they would NOT go so far and fast in their investments (wich they didnt)

And not to mention what that arrogant self centered no excuise for a human being, those few men who thought they could do whatever they wanted to do couse they had some money, and also those super wages the heads of the banks had, they had millions of isk per month what an ordinary person would take tens of years to work for.

And at last Gordon Brown. Thank you for fucking up all that was left.

I personally hope that all of those men will fry in hell.
Or at lest they will be hold responsible for all what happened.

Russia here we come ;)
And that will not be the first time Russia will come to our aid.

Sign. Jón Ingi

Dale said...

I used to work for Ericsson, and through them worked with Oz on their iPulse text messaging product. I enjoyed working with Icelanders and even got to go to Iceland for a few days. I took a tour and heard the joke about how to find your way out of the Icelandic National Forest.

Those were curious days, just before 9/11. Nobody was actually making money, but all the workers, including me, were getting paid out the wazoo. Some of the Oz people I worked with moved to their own startup, and I marvelled at how easy it was for Icelanders to move around like that.

In 2002, we found out about Ericsson, and now we're finally finding out about Iceland. It was fun while it lasted, really, I don't think I would change anything because otherwise I would never have gotten to travel to Sweden so much and to Iceland. I still miss Reykjavik even those I was only there for a few days in the Winter.

Oh well, now the krona is falling, maybe I'll go back to visit.

Anonymous said...

Who has time to write this BS? Thankfully I recognized it as such after the first few paragraphs. Good luck on your fiction writing career.

joshyMinor said...

Icelanders are soo cool! Nice folk there for sure.

Jiff
www.anonymity.at.tc

Anonymous said...

An idea whose time might well be now..

http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=868982

Ian Davis, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Anonymous said...

Don't worry too much. That whole "checks and balances" thing didn't work out for us. Next time I think we'll just shoot the bankers and financiers before they can cause too much trouble.

signed,
America

Anonymous said...

im from Iceland, im 20 years old and i have a seven months old son... i have always hated the icelandic goverment and all this bigg mans in iceland that have lot of money for doing NOTHING... BUT I AM NOT GOING TO SAY "I AM SORRY" I HAVE NOT NONE ANYTHING WRONG... i have never killed a person, i have never stolen money or done anything bad, at least not as far as i know... we are 300.000 people and if someone is going to blaim this situation on us... then go to hell...

all i have is dept and more dept because of this situation... so dont blame me for this... im truly sorry that all of us hafe to go trhug this, and i hope its going to be a better time... but im not going to take the fuckin blame for my fucking goverment or the icelandics banks... no way... not in this life... So stopp blaming all icelandics for this when they are about 30 in iceland that have something to do with this...
but i hope this fucking shit is going to end... this is fuckin killing me!!!

one really angry:/ (sorry my writing... im not good in english)

Anonymous said...

I have travelled all round Iceland and love both its geography and its people. I know you have done nothing wrong. You just find yourselves as we would say in English between a Rock and a hard place. You are all very much in my thoughts.

Ian Davis, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

MarcLord said...

No apologies necessary, you Icelanders, but thank you for extending a courtesy.

You were just caught up in a complex scam few people understood, like the rest of us.

This crisis will pass and Iceland will remain a rocky place with tough people who know how to survive. I would like to visit there, one day.

Anonymous said...

Was in Iceland for my honeymoon and also went there to climb Hvannadalshnukur .. and oh yeah once for business and yeah loved the place and the people.

A lot of what you described also happened in Ireland as well expect the Euro and out big American companies made us behave.

You are probably not feeling good right now but this too will pass. Out of disaster comes opportunity ... maybe this will be the incentive to move ahead and become the worlds first non oil importing country.

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful blog post, and as an American I apologize for our role in your plight, as it was not completely your fault. I wish I could have visited Iceland at its peak, and I still wish that I could - it honestly seems like a wonderful place, if anything that I've read is accurate. May we all make it through this!

Ína said...

Im Icelandic...
I prefer to live in Mozambique - one of the poorest countries of Africa...

Why?

-Simply because of the culture of my people borrowing money and paying with their over drawn Visa Cards beats me...

-The habit of people measuring the quality of life in WEALTH makes me feel worthless...

-Their belief that time is money makes me stressed...

-The arrogant way of looking at them selves as "deserving Icelanders" and not as responsible human beings like everyone else makes me feel stupid, wasting my time - dedicating it on others...

-The lack of understanding of other suffering nations (until we are the ones to suffer)(then PLEASE... come and help us) makes me feel alone, although I know I´m not...

-The comfortable chair we sit in and point at other directions, critizising everything but our own mess makes me feel pathetic!

It makes me sad, that once again we are in deep shit and what do we do... Blame it on a few people who were smart enough to manipulate our greed - because YES, we are greedy!
And what are we missing: The POINT!

Islenskt, Já takk. We can do it on our own, roughly. I don´t mean to be proud, because that is what pushed us off the cliff in the first place. But we need to stop dragging other into our HomeSweetHome-made mess.
We need to stop driving and start bicykling. Also if it rains or snowns and our make-up gets messy.
We need to start planting our own veggies and get real: lipo-suction and breast implants wont get us ANYWHERE!
If it gets hard we might have to give up our villas and move in together with our children or parents. It´s called FAMILY. You can love them for free!
We will have to start valuing the real gift of life and laughing at the deception of material fake wealth. WE WILL HAVE TO LEARN! Gamli hundur, SITTU!

I am sure this can teach us something that I (and many other weirdos) find missing in Iceland: love for the people and appreciation for what we have.

We need our energy now and our mental strengh that got us to survive hard conditions for hundreds of years. We need to use that energy in a productive way: a useful way.
We need to stop using it on blaming the fuckers who gambled our money to space. We were money hungry and they fed us with what we wanted. Now we are hungry for fairness: they will for sure sell us kúk í poka and blame each other until we start shooting each other in a civil war. Or a World War...

We can blame it on the politicians, we can blame it on the rich and famous (that's easily mixed with jealousy)(which we are famous for), we can believe that we deserve a sky-high living standard to make up for the low living standard of our forefathers... But we need to fall back to ground. We need to erase our pink cloud that blinds us.

We need to start living life with our head, heart and hands! That is what they are for.

If you dont get my point you are welcome to visit me. I will show you my point.

Greetings from the warm heart of Africa. My friends here worry if Icelandic people are hungry! Think about it...

Anonymous said...

this is from rome italy

you guys and girls are forgiven

Anonymous said...

As a Canadian, I would not mind if Iceland would apply to join our country - like Newfoundland and Labrador did in 1949. But they would have to decide on this approach by themselves, by a referendum of some kind. The article in The National makes sense. Canada seems to be strong enough to assist with this.

DrKrbyLuv said...

Please don't feel bad that your "small" country was victimized by the greedy banking bastards; I live in a big country (USA) and we too have been victimized by the greedy banking bastards.

The greedy banking bastards are at least, equal opportunity thieves - no country too large and no country too small.

Anonymous said...

Iceland is just a start...all paper money will soon equal toilet paper everywhere in the world.
Welcome to the new baking system: electronic money=invisible money, meaning you have nothing but thin air you can not touch it, it can be taken away from you anytime.
Iceland to worry, we are all in the same boat, the sinking boat.

Penny said...

you have nothing to apologize for.

it is indeed the corruption and greed of the bankers and their lackey politicians.

Greed is good, has been their motto.

Class warfare, is the name of the game, and it is the same old, same old.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent narrative of just what happened, explained in a way we can all understand. In fact it is also an explanation for what happened in the U.S. and other so-called advanced countries. It was caused by greedy thieves, nothing less. You, as a normal Icelander, have nothing to apologize for but I appreciate your sentiments.

Doug Roberts, Canada

falloch said...

why should you apologise for what small numbers of people all over the world have been doing? These people have no adherence to nationality - they are infected with the desire for money and the getting of it. Some of these infected people have devastated Iceland; even more of them have wreaked havoc throughout the world. You in Iceland must re-strengthen your immunity to this disease. And especially watch out for your natural resources. You've got loads of dams in the pipeline to further the construction of aluminium factories. WATCH OUT for these companies - now that you are vulnerable, they will swoop upon you like vultures: defying planning and environmental laws because they know you're in a precarious position. Resist them! They would happily destroy your environment, and then run to the next victim when they finish with you.

Anonymous said...

People of Iceland, I feel for you, my gov. and the colonial ruling classes have been robbing Colombia for two hundred years. My suggestion, take advantage of the moment and exercise some asymmetric economy. I recently saw you guys are developing technologies that could save the globe, and I think that as a people you're enviable in that you appear to be one of the most unified on Earth. You'll make it through, don't listen to the bullies, act as neighborhoods, towns, and communities--in short, I believe you guys could really set a standard for a new model of democratic/globalized type of nation. Oh yeah, and hunt the greedy fuckers who did this to you to the last bright exotic beach on the last overpriced luxury hotel on earth if you have to. Salud a uds.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to chime in.

I'm from Iceland, I'm in my 40's. I'm a student, and I don't own a house, a car, a plasma TV or any of the other "neccessities" that Icelanders have taken for granted they should own.

So I'd like to answer Ína, who really wanted to rickroll a whole nation with her accusations.

You forgot one of the greatest sins of all - pride. You really think you are better than the rest of us ? Think again.

But to all the commenters here who shed a good word, thanks.

Although I havn't actively participated in this financial craze (the only loans I have are student loans), I can relate with taking a blame for doing nothing. Of course I (and everybody else who saw what might come) should have fought. But when everybody is complacent, you get complacent too, which isn't really any good, as seen by the current situation.

I for one know that if we borrow money from Russia to solve the crisis, I'll be first in line to kick our PMs butt right out of the country. Asia has offered assistance, and so has Norway (both of which I extend my gratitude, but beware that you check carefully first before you get your feet wet).

I have learnt not to believe when politicians say "all is well". It almost always means "all is NOT well, but we dare not tell you". I can only wish that others would follow suit.

As for Grogan Brown of London UK, I have from a Scotsman that Brown himself is considered a traitor by Scotsmen (being Scottish himself - as is Darling). Thw two of them should (and might) be sued by a nation for singelhandedly bringing down the last of our big banks (and the one that actually would have survived the crisis if left untouched) by calling upon the nation an act of terrorism, totally unwarranted.

If Grogan Brown had a shred of decency in his bones, he would resign on the spot and turn himself in to Icelandic authorities to sit trial.

But, to the rest of the world (and almost all brits) - please accept our sicerest apologies for our complacency.

Anonymous said...

I'm Icelandic and I apologize for nothing because I've done nothing wrong. I work around 50 hours a week to pay my mortgage and food for my family and I do not have flat-panel TV and I own my car 100%.

(Yes Ína, don't you dare blame me for the situation!)

I like to see the comments here and to see that people around the world are on our side. Then I mean us, the real hard working people of Iceland that create the real wealth not air-money like stock.

Iceland is now just showing the world how few bankers can fuck a whole nation. We're showing the world how flawed this super-capitalism is as a model for economy. This is just the start. The world will follow.

We Icelanders founded the first parliament in Europe more than a thousand years ago and maybe it's time for us to create a new system. System built on shared responsibility and shared wealth. Who knows. At least this capitalism that has ruled here the last decades isn't working.

Anonymous said...

I understand some Icelanders are angry and feel thay have nothing to apologize for, most of us haven´t done anything wrong.


But with our voting we select only someone to take decisions for us, not responsibility.

We handed power to this people and in failure of effectivly using it to regulate our finacial system they have caused this terror.

If I give you a gun and you point it at me, I say nothing. You shoot ...

Maybe you thought that was what I wanted... It is a gun, it´s not like you can do something else with it...

genedios said...

NAME NAMES, please. All of this suspense as to who these nameless, rootless people that ripped off the world is killing me.

genedios said...

BTW, this is a brilliant essay. Save for the Criminal Elite, none of us owes each other any apologies. What we do owe each other is to not get suckered by these sociopaths anymore.

michaelarcangelis said...

so, the parasites have left for london?? let them stay there, kick out this central bank parasite, and start up your own local community money systems, like they are doing in canada, us, philippines, colombia and many countries all over the world. in the 1929 depression, what happened? did the crops refuse to grow in the fields? did people refuse to work or offer services? NO! so what was missing then??? only the tickets to move them around, thats all, yet the central bankers, by withdrawing their tickets which they held a monopoly on printing, convinced everyone there was an economic depression, where in fact there was none!!! - that's all! wake up, Iceland, and start your own local community money - call it coupons, not money, and use these to carry on trading all your goods and services, and to hell with the parasite central banker hoax - call it for what it is, the biggest hoax in the history of humanity. If I give you a pen, and demand you give me back 20 pens in payment for the one I gave you, will you not throw it back and me and say you will get your own? same thing with the tickets your central bank calls money! is there anyone awake there in iceland?!! if you are just stunned by the simplicity of what you have just read, you can have the services of a swiss banker to instruct you - no kidding! just contact him via www.michaeljournal.org, and stop crying over something you can fix.

Anonymous said...

In a week, we can replace all the Icelanders references with American references. The US Bailout, only made things worse and is yet another infringement on our rights by the gov't. Add it to the ever-growing list of violations:
They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon, Wikipedia and Facebook.
They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns during Katrina.
They violate the 4th Amendment by conducting warrant-less wiretaps.
They violate the 5th and 6th Amendment by suspending habeas corpus.
They violate the 8th Amendment by torturing at Gitmo.
They violate the entire Constitution by starting illegal wars without declaration.
Impeach them all (both parties) and save this great country.
Last link (unless Google Books caves to the gov't and drops the title):
America Deceived (book)

michaelarcangelis said...

this is a P.S. from michaelarcangelis: you can try contacting the swiss banker directly - siebenthal@gmail.com - but you may be blocked, as the wank - oops! central bankers are surveilling us 24/7. Did you know that Canada is taking a class action lawsuit against the banks for their forgery of the country's money?? as my teeshirt says, "don't steal, the government does not like competition". canada is the only country in the world with an organisation that publishes the Michael journal in four languages (english, french, spanish, polish), and leaflets in myriad other languages (come on Iceland, how about one in Icelandic??) that is not afraid to expose and denounce the banking and taxation system for what it really is. I am sure you Icelanders can come up with some fitting epithets! - but seriously, stop letting them take you for a ride. You might enjoy watching Aaron Russo's DVD, America: From Freedom to Fascism. He is an award-winning Hollywood movie maker. In the movie, he persistently asks US State officials where is the law that says a US citizen who performs a service, and accepts payment, has to give up part of that payment in taxes! There is NO law! Come on Iceland, wake up and smell the roses, while you still have a country and the resource of hardworking, skilled talented people. You can do a search for Aaron Russo on the net, or you could try downloading at www.wiseupjournal.com. Rockefeller asked Russo to join the Committee of 300. Russo said back to him, well, Rockefeller, you have all the money and power in the world, more than enough to make one person happy - is that not enough for you? NO! said Rockefeller, I wont rest until I have microchipped every man, woman and child on the planet. Well, said Russo, you can keep your Committee of 300. He made the movie - view it, if you can. He died Aug. '07, with an open verdict on his death.

Anonymous said...

Blame the elites! Stand together as always and take their power away from them!

So many insiders foretold that this situation would happen, attempted to make a stand, and several died for "mysterious reasons" or suddenly. Continue their fight, and take out these elites.

Show them that they cannot continue to control the human race, that they can no longer have power, that they can no longer control anything; ANYMORE!

Every country will be joining you in this stand. It has already begun.

Anonymous said...

Someone above said:

"But with our voting we select only someone to take decisions for us, not responsibility.

We handed power to this people and in failure of effectivly using it to regulate our finacial system they have caused this terror."

I didn´t vote for this Government so I´m extra angry! I work days and nights to support my family, I do not have big loans, nor big jeep, plasma TV or things like that.

So I don´t need to apologize for things that I haven´t done. Someone has to give an apology.

Angry Icelandic woman

Anonymous said...

Ekki voga ykkur að leggja fram afsökunarbeiðni í mínu nafni enda ekki ástæða til. Þeir sem bera ábyrgð á þessu máli munu síðar svara fyrir sínar gjörðir. Atli Már Sigurðsson!

Anonymous said...

Að þú skulir voga þér að tala fyrir hönd Íslendinga og birta þetta erlendis er til skammar.
Hinn almenni Íslendingur skuldar Bretum ekkert, hvorki afsökunarbeiðni né annað.
Hvort við hefðum ekki tapað þorskastríðinu feitt með svona undirlægjur við stýrið. Hvað er stoltið?

david santos said...

Excellent work but preocupation!
Have a nice weekend.

Njorðr said...

Good background explanation of the causes of the crisis. However, that is what it should be called, more an explanation, rather than an apology. The common person in Iceland has nothing to apologise or be ashamed of. Simply put, the greed, of a few people, along with this incestuous relationship between those in the government and those in the banking industry, is making life miserable for everyone else both here in the country and abroad.

Tom Dennen said...

Thank you Tack sa mycket:


We have a benchmark to look up to.

The outlaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
plasticgoat said...

Thank you for the apology but as an American I have to apologize too. We all were looking the other way as globalization of the money industry benefited too few, and has caused the rest of us to start to pick up the pieces. We will pass that on to future generations as our legacy. We really are better than this, I have to believe it. So, here is my apology. Sorry. Really, really sorry. Iceland, your crimes are very small in the scheme of things, peace.

Aeneas said...

There is nothing for Iceland to apologise for. If anything British Prime Minister Gordan Brown should get down on his knees and beg for the forgiveness of the people of Iceland. His Government advised many of our local authorities to put their money in Icelanding banks. They are now blaming Iceland for their decision rather than blaming themsleves.

To use out terrorism laws against Iceland is a complete outrage. In Britain the Government uses terrorism laws against the British people on a regular basis. They use such law to snoop on us, to restrict our freedom of speech and to bully and cajole use to accept their policies that are in effect offensive to democracy and freedom.

If our terrorism laws are to be use against any state they should be used against Saudi Arabia which is a state that produced the 9/11 hijackers and the state that promotes the barbaric Islamist ideology around the world. The fact that our Prime Minister is useing this legislation against inoffesive Iceland shows how desperate and out of touch the British Government is. You are lucky that you don't have to endure their tyranny on a day to day basis.

The tyrant in Downing Street should take responsibility for his own inadequacies and the poor decisions of his party and stop picking on Iceland. Gordon Brown needs to acknowledge his own failure and accept responsibility. As far as I am concerned he is unwilling to accept that he is a failure and a global laughing stock. I don't believe that he is fit to run a pet shop let along a country. He should resign for his comments about Iceland and because of his imbecilic managing of the British economy. Gordan Brown and his New Labour stooges are an embarassment to Britain and the broader scope fo Western civilisation.

Iceland can we swap leaders since ours are idiotic failures who are ever so keen of burning other peoples money to disguise their own failures and to blame others for the same reason.

PortiaBelmont said...

No need to apologize, dear Friends. You were busy working, going about your business as usual when the thieves broke in and stole all of your wealth. You thought you had left watchmen in charge to guard against unbridled theft, but when the robbers came in, some of those supposed guards where sleeping on the job, others were bribed to look the other way, and some joined the gang of theives and helped themselves to what was yours.

Were I in your shoes - and I and my countrymen may soon be - rather than go hat in hand to Putin to beg for money to replace what was stolen, I would gather my neighbors and march to the halls of Congress, or Parliament as the case may be, demanding our representatives immediately nationalize all banks and strategic industries. Then you could tell your creditors to go f#ck themselves. Let them track down the theiving bastards who stole the money. Let them throw the theiving sons-of-bitches into the dankest prison they can find, leaving them to rot there for the rest of their lives.

If you nationalize your banks and strategic industries (including any owned by foreign nationals), issue new currency, and pledge to one another that you will always care for one another and never again allow a bunch of greedy bastards to steal all you own, you might have a chance to build a new economy from the dust and ashes of the old.

All the best to you, dear Friends, from a fellow sufferer in the USA.

PortiaBelmont

Dave said...

You guys sound great, you really should join Canada :)

http://inviteicelandin.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

It makes me sick to read these comments being sorry for iceland, we are all next...we should all be sorry for ourselves. You dont believe me??
Ask yourselves, if you take your paper money to exchange for money, what happens? you will be told to get lost, there is no exchanging money to Gold. Ever heard of Bretton Woods agreement? that agreement, that piece of paper no longer exist.
Try it..take a few millions of your money, even US dollars is no longer deemable. Try it...dont comment back to me unless you investigate this.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I just want to correct a little mistake:

It makes me sick to read these comments being sorry for iceland, we are all next...we should all be sorry for ourselves. You dont believe me??
Ask yourselves, if you take your paper money to exchange for GOLD, what happens? you will be told to get lost, there is no exchanging money to Gold. Ever heard of Bretton Woods agreement? that agreement, that piece of paper no longer exist.
Try it..take a few millions of your money, even US dollars is no longer deemable. Try it...dont comment back to me unless you investigate this.

Anonymous said...

Ína eða hver sem stendur á bakvið þetta ætti að skrifa undir þetta með nafni því þú talar alls ekki fyrir þjóðina

Anonymous said...

I'm from Finland and yes, I know - we have had the same.

When the local Kaupthing representative was saying "there is no problem" and I listend to it and I heard "Finland will not devaluate" and lifted the money out.

Kind of ironic you battled so long to get the Americans out of Keflavik - so now you are getting Russians instead just as they predicted.

No problem, they claim Finland "needs workers" so another 300 000 wouldn't be too much. Just leave the politicians behind, we have enough slimeballs of our own.

I am just looking at Sweden and Denmark how are they doing with their Krona... if nothing else the 1990 recession made Finns join the EU so that the banks and politicians couldn't "pull this kind of shit" again.

I guess its now back to growing bananas in the greenhouse. Just keep your head high and pay back to Britain by canned havakarl.

Hawaii Lass said...

Aloha Greetings from Hawaii

My apologies to you and other commentors for this very long post -- and thank you for your apology. If I were to chart a scale which reflected who is most at fault for creating, maintaining, sustaining, and destroying the lives, economies, cultures, environment and natural resources on this planet, I am certain that Iceland would be quite near the very bottom of that chart. I think we all know which nations are at the top. ‘nuff said.

Ignorance may be bliss – but knowledge is power. Prepare yourselves for the vultures, predators, snakes-in-suits, and other malicious, vicious psychopathic and seductively smiling sociopathic sharks who will invade your nation to gorge themselves in a feeding frenzy.

I recommend that you arm yourselves with knowledge against these predators. Educate yourselves about the nature of the beasts you will be facing in your future.

That said, here is the short list of material I recommend that you examine.

In addition to the following list, I recommend that you read some books or online materials regarding psychopaths and the ponerization of populations in order to understand what kinds of deception you will be dealing with. Psychopaths are not just serial killers. Those are the “failed” psychopaths. The successful psychopaths are those who pass-for-normal. One of the few methods of outing a psychopath is to observe how they observe you. A few clues: They feel no empathy, compassion, sympathy for the sufferings of others. They have no “conscience” in order to feel guilt or remorse at having committed harmful acts. They see normal people as inferior to them because while they will stop at nothing in order to achieve their ends, normal people will stop themselves because at the very least, they prefer to avoid punishment, and at best simply because they cannot bring themselves to intentionally harm others for no other reason than to sadistically enjoy watching others suffer.

Now – to the list.

Reviewing Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" (The Rise of Disaster Capitalism)
http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/search?q=Naomi+Klein

Google Videos to Watch:

Zeitgeist, The Movie – Remastered / Final Edition
122 min – Feb 28, 2008

Zeitgeist: Addendum
123 min – October 3, 2008

Money: If you wish to understand some of the basic, simple principles of economy, why and how money is created as debt, and why Iceland, along with the rest of the global financial system has crashed, watching these videos will truly be the best gift you and your community can give yourselves and each other. In order to negotiate in your own best interests, you need to “know” what these bankers “know” and will not tell you because if you know what they already know, you will be less vulnerable “prey” for them to gobble up.

There are several videos in this category. Start with a google.video search for “Money Changers” and watch any of the videos on the page which comes up. Watch as many as you can so you will gain a “conceptual understanding” of what’s going on. That core understanding will assist you to succeed where most of the rest of us have failed – because enough of us did NOT KNOW this information. So we innocently and ignorantly believed the bankers were out to help us. They were out to help us help them become richer while we became poorer. Don’t fall for their flim-flam scams.

Obviously, corporate greed exists. Not so obviously, individual greed also exists. We all need to fully comprehend that corporate greed can only succeed if we accede to the temptations which corporations offer to feed our own individual greed. Corporate greed will fail when we succeed in refusing their loans, charge cards, products, and services. A nearly impossible deed we plead? Of course. No one said it would be easy. And we now also see that the consequences of acceding to corporate greed in order to feed our individual greed are the global economic collapse we are all currently experiencing.

Here’s a hint on how to devalue your money so that your purchasing power declines, how to create inflation, how to create debt that you will never escape, while fattening the coffers of the fat cat plutocrats. Here’s how to destroy yourselves: Get a bank loan – use your charge cards – leave more money in the banks than you absolutely need in order to pay your bills. Why? Because of the way banking institutions legally operate. If you watch these videos and read The Shock Doctrine book review, you will finally understand how money IS debt and how we unknowingly collude with our own economic enslavement. And if you don’t know that you are a slave, then the money master monsters have won because the best of all possible slaves are those who believe they are free. If you owe anyone anything that you cannot pay back until some future date, you are a slave.

I wish you and your beautiful nation of Iceland, the very best – and I offer my heartfelt intentions that you prevail against your present and future difficulties. There is a saying: “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”

If you could do anything to make restitution, it would be to become an “inspiration” to others. As a relatively smaller population, you may actually have a much better chance of success in overcoming and beating back the sharks than many other, much larger nations.

Why? Because there are fewer of you to align. And what you need to do now is align with each other in order to present a united front against the assault of the IMF and World Bank predators who are even now champing at the bit in their eagerness to swallow you whole. And, if they succeed, your nation will become another hole – added to the long list of other nations swallowed up into the black hole of nothingness by these greedy ghouls.

As for apologies, as a citizen of one of those top three vampire empire nations on the chart, I offer to you, and every human being, animal, mineral, vegetable, natural resource and to the four elements of this planet – of the past, present and future – my most sincere apologies for my personal and national contribution to the suffering, damage, destruction and de-humanization which you have endured.

The information you will find within the materials I recommend above is my offering of atonement. I hope after you examine that information, you will feel inspired and energized by a sense of clarity, certainty, and knowledge that you can actually DO something to help yourselves instead of becoming passive victims awaiting your metaphorical execution at the orders of these Not-See BORG masters-of-the-universe.

Blessings on your success

Anonymous said...

I would just like to state so it´s absolutely clear that the spineless person that wrote this essay does not speak for anyone but him/her-self.
I´m an Icelander, and I for one do not apoligise for anything, since I haven´t done anything wrong.
The Icelandic government had always intended to live up to it´s obligations concerning the Ice-save accounts. This is something the British government chose to overlook (for reasons no one can understand) and froze Icelandic banks and assets in the UK.
The consiquenses of this act by the UK gov. to implement terrorist laws on Icelandic companies is possibly the reason behind the collapse of Kaupthing, Iceland´s biggest bank.
Icelandic authorities have now hired a British law firm and are contemplating a lawsuit against the British government. If convicted it´s the lawyers assessment that the British state will have to pay billions of pounds to Kaupthing´s creditors and stock holders.
This will still not recover all the damage since this mindless act by the British government will probably send thousands of Icelanders into unemployment, bankruptcys of small companies in Iceland and a lot more.
So...were not sorry for the Ice-save accounts, we never had reason to because the Icelandic gov. always intented to live up to it´s obligations. We are on the other hand sorry that the British government saw reason (vote fishing possibly?) to push the Icelandic economy over the edge, consequensing major unemployment, bankruptcys of companies, families and induviduals, suicides and etc.
Thank you very much Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, it is likely that you will now not only have angered a nation, but you will probably have blood on your hands of those that will not live out this economic disaster you created.

mike57 said...

Salviamo l'Islanda con una donazione di 50-100 euro in cambio di una settimana di ospitalità presso una famiglia islandese.

Garante dell'iniziativa sarà Banca Etica la quale aprirà un conto corrente per l'iniziativa.

Salviamo la nostra 'sorella' in difficoltà

Anonymous said...

I had the honour to stay in iceland for some time in the 2004.
It's an awesome place and the quality of human resources will help them to build again a rich nation.
As all the young nations, it's normal to make mistakes and now all my thoughts are for those families who are suffering ,people loosing job and persons loosing money. But in a few years iceland will be back. The only thing that I can suggest,in a globalized world it makes no sense being isolated , and with all its problems and defects, european union is the natural home for icelandic people to grow toghether with us.
Regards from Rome.
Luca

Anto Climax said...

I am Irish. Your neighbours to the South-East. We have encountered the similar problems concerning the Financial/property sector. And our corrupt useless politicians and our corrupt, greedy bankers were the cause of the problem. We also have the added problem caused by monopolies and an excessive state structure. Both are filled with people who are useless except in covering up their incompetence and getting money for nothing out of the rest of us.

I have a proposition. I understand that Iceland is a country with many isolated cold, damp spots. We in Ireland now need to build a retirement home for useless politicians. Such a home will have to be purely functional, and very 'Spartan'. We do not need to tap into the geyser to heat it. In fact we would prefer if there was no central heating. The people who will be using the facility are very warm and charming on the surface, we must admit. But deep inside they really are cold blooded animals. And in any case, we now have to save really hard to fix our economy. I am sure you understand. And in this retirement village for useless politicians there will be no contact with the outside world, because we do not want our useless politicians to contaminate politicians in other countries. It has to function as be an isolation zone. It will also reduce the expenses. We don't want to heat the planet flying people in to visit them. It is preferred that you select an isolated district with no mobile phones.

So can you provide us with a suitable site which is currently not in use. Please rezone it as 'residential'. In return we will provide your local politicians with a brown paper envelope full of hard currency. In Dublin this is standard practice for changing the planning status of an area. We have been doing this for years in Ireland and we are really good at organizing this sort of exchange. In return we will also provide Icelanders who arrive in Dublin seeking entertainment free tickets to the funniest and longest running show in Irish theatre. It is called "The Tribunal" for short. In full it is termed "The Tribunal into Payments for politicians, planning corruption, and other releated matters". It is a gold mine in it's own right. We are thinking about patenting it, but we can give Iceland a waiver should you wish to set up your own franchise in Rejkavik. This show is really entertaining. In it you will find out about a former Minister for Finance(Bertie Teflon) who never had a bank account. What amazing foresight - he must have known that putting money in the bank was a bad idea. Maybe you might want to call one of your public facilities after him. We do not mind if all the public facilities have already been named already. We have become humble again, and we would gladly settle for a modest level of appreciation to reflect our newfound lack of prosperity. If you named a local sewage treatment plant after him, that would be sufficient. As we say here in Ireland 'he flushed the economy down the toilet'.
And attendees will hear all about Bertie and his friends, the dirty dozen, and how they always helped each other in their hour of need. You will hear all about his darkest hours, and how he won money betting on horses, on one very very lucky day (the odds were really stacked against him) and changed his predicament. And then he went on to become Prime Minister, and lead the country into the biggest construction job ever devised in Ireland, a hole that is so large that nobody knows it's true size. Some experts think you could fit 400 Billion Euro into it. Others have said that it would take at least 20 Billion Euros to fill the hole. In any case it is a really big hole, and we have been digging ourselves into it or years. Needless to say Mr.Teflon is a modest man and has led a private life in spite of the many accolades presented to him, for this is his life's greatest acheivement-his legacy to the Irish people. He recently received a 'severance package' of 180,000 Euros from the much indebted Irish taxpayer.

In any case, you are in a worse position than us. We really don't know how you did it. Ireland was trying to mess it's financial system harder than you were. It is like as if our banking experts were spending less time on the job, or just drinking on the job. Our banks gave us money for everything that could be bought for any sum of money. And our politicians were cheering for us all the way down the slippery slope, providing us with every motivation to go faster and harder. In the end you guys got the gold medal for fiscal irresponsibility. In spite of all the things that Irish tried to do. But our politicians are working day and night to devise plans to get us that first place. They have not given up on their purpose in life as servants to the Irish people. They are confident that they will eventually create a more bankrupt Ireland. And of course they have allocated funds for special celebrations all along the way, so that we can celeberate our demise. "The Tribunal" also has other regular big star names like 'Paddy the Plasterer' and Pee Flynn. These are our best comedians. They have produced some of the funniest comments ever made. They are also able to mke money appear and disappear so efficiently, even they can't remember. Their money disappearing acts really do defy explanation - which might explain why we neve get any explanation. So when you have enough money saved up, come to Ireland for some authentic contemporary Irish culture in Dublin's most expensive show. And it can be washed down with the beer that the Irish have used to lubricate their decision making before such important moments as voting and making property investment decisions in the last ten years. You will also be to include a tour of the trees of North County Dublin, where all sorts of strange events have occurred. And then there are our retail therapy centres which are also connected to the "The Tribunal Show".

We don't think that 180000 Euro is sufficient reward for Mr. Teflon and his buddies. As as a reward, we want to build some of the them a retirement home in the middle of nowhere in Iceland. Do you have anywhere available ? Maybe we can send some of our unemployed construction workers to the site, to start construction. Because this is an Irish State project, time deadlines and budget deadlines will not be taken seriously. Also there will be loads of managers available to take charge of the various aspects of the project to ensure over oversight of the project. There will be a tendering process, as per EU rules. But do not worry EU competition law does not really matter in Ireland. bout such trivial matters. ethat, After a visit to the Tribunal Show in Dublin,as an added bonus, you will have mastered the patented "Irish Brown Envelope Trick". This will ensure that your local contractors can also get some of the action. And the people who do the actual real work for our contractors, and the people who do the actual real work for your contractors can sit down together and good conversations about the important things in life, in Polish. However we do request that you do not allow a golf course, or a rugby pitch to be built beside the special home for Irish politicians. This type of attraction has peoven to attract all sorts of deal makers, mostly of the wrong type. Many of these are members of gangs using code names such as 'The Old School Tie'. These people are members of a cult called Nepotism, and they tend to be very secretive. They have their own rules, and set of moral values, which they make up as they go along depending on the opportunities that present themselves. They are known to give money generously to charity, thouh we have now learnt in Ireland that such money is usually extorted from members of the general public in a scheme described technically as 'oligoply' or 'monopolistic trading arrangements'. You really do not need to know about these people. They already have their own hideout in Portugual where they cause problems for the local authorities and the Portuguese tax regime.

Anonymous said...

All my support from Italy, for what it's worth... I've been to Iceland twice and have a few friends there, I really love your country. Hold on and stay strong. And if you actually want to move to a warmer place until it will be all over, I think you'll be welcome down here.

ALL THE BEST.

Fabio da Bergamo, Italia said...

Well, my friend, I sincerely did not read your letter to the bottom, but I understand that it describes the feelings of Icelandic citizens and the guilty-feelings of those, as yourself, whom guess to be forced to justify to the world the medium-high wealth level that your own community reached and detained so far. Well, who do you think wouldn't like a good level of wealth ? I live in Italy, full of contradictions and much more complex and crowded contest than yours, mine anyway owning to the G7 (or G8, or G ...), all in all, to the world's wealthy nations club. But, do you think that we'd prefer to have less ? There are so many differences among wealthy nation and wealthy nation: here in Italy, a litre of car gas costs € 1,30/1.40 (and we do NOT have oil under our ground, or just a little bit) and in some oil producer country, one is even not able to afford to buy gas at all. In other countries, gas not self-sufficient as well, a litre of oil costs € 0.70, even in presence of a higher purchasing power; it means that, in this crazy globalization, someone pays much more than someone elsewhere for the same thing and means that it exists a "capitalism ethics". I don't want to seem like an hypocritical: I know that, to guarantee my welfare level, elsewhere, somebody has to be sacked and that's why, for example, I never loved the speculating on stock exchange, 'cause I never believed in easy profit. I always guessed that quick profit to me meant quick loss to someone else, and I know that rich people never lose out and “money just makes money”, as my grandpa often said. So, I just pretend the wealth level I'm able to afford, not more: I have a car, but it’s not a SUV, I don’t need it, and it’s over twelve years old and I often walk or take a bus or use a bicycle; I have a home, but it’s fit for a couple (70 sqm) and no more and it’s on leasing; I am not indebted, ‘cause I don’t want to have something if it is not affordable to me. That means some sacrifices, of course, but, if I feel sometime guilty as a West rich citizen, that also let me feel less guilty than others, whom just enjoy their wealth, never thinking about HOW they reach it. If you Icelandic feel guilty, all we West citizens should, more or less, and I fell less. I always loathed those, whom want more and more and more and don’t care about of the plunder to the others because of their acting; in Italy, too, they are unfortunately increasing. But, this is all I think I can do as an individual, I can not answer for the whole society. And you, Icelandic friend, why should you overload your blame on yourself ? Maybe we Italians are more individualist and tend to avoid our social responsibility quote, but I don’t think that YOU could be blamed for what is happening in Iceland just now. The prices in your land are very high, you always paid for to buy what you need and Iceland never stole to anyone, I guess. In your land the wealth has always been fairly distributed and the unbalanced model is NOT yours; it’s not your “guilt” if you have not raw material and must import all what you need, which you anyway always paid at the proper price. When there is a man who “earns” one million times the money of the man walking beside him in the street, THAT’s unbalanced and that has to be corrected and this is what we should try to reach to, for to prevent the real collapse. Not communism, but a more fair model of wealth distribution, as in some country, as the most north European ones, already exists. You could also blame you as a member of a community and this is maybe ethically correct, but it’s not up to a single person to repair an insane system; economical crisis did not started by you and did not spread out from Iceland and you are just a penalized man, as all the common people as you and me. So, it’s not you that should excuse, perhaps you should pretend excuses, bies and good luck from Italy by Fabio.

Auðunn said...

I for one refuse to apologize for some banks that go under just because they are based in my country. That is just ridiculous.

How many Americans would consider apologizing for the sub prime mortgage scams of the wall street fat cats. After all that is what brought about the credit crunch and eventually brought the whole house of cards down? Not many and they should not have to and neither should we regular Icelanders.

Valinor said...

Nobody needs to apologize, but it was a nice gesture, though.

What is not nice is the tendency to blame it all on a few politicians and select businessmen, and deny any culpability oneself. Yes, those politicans, bankers and businessmen do carry a heavy responsibility, but weren't you all willing participants?

* You borrowed money, didn't you?
* You took the loan in other currencies than ISK, didn't you?
* You bought a bigger and nicer house than your economic situation warranted, didn't you?

Now is the time to pay those bills. It was somebody else's money, and he/she needs it back. You are working your ass off, but can't pay back even interest, let alone the principal. This is because at the time of taking that mortgage or borrowing 100% for that nice SUV, you were blinded by greed, just like the others. Perhaps you felt entitled for all that luxury, which was so commonplace. "Financial vikings", they said. And you cheered and felt proud.

Now, perhaps you are finally disillusioned? If you are honest to yourself (and have/had loans), you can see the situation more clearly and see where you yourself made mistakes.

Or maybe all this introspection is not necessary. You are rendered harmless now. You can't repeat the mistake in your lifetime, because nobody will lend you money for another consumption party. Your grandsons and -daughters, at latest, will surely repeat the mistake. The same tune is played again, with slightly differing nyances. They, too, will blame it all on inept politicians and greedy businessmen. So human, but so stupid.

Auðunn said...

* You borrowed money, didn't you?
no i did not
* You took the loan in other currencies than ISK, didn't you?
no
* You bought a bigger and nicer house than your economic situation warranted, didn't you?
no,

But granted some did, and this is not just Icelanders. Remember that sub-prime mortgage thing that brought about this mess was in the US where people were given loans for houses beyond their means.

Valinor said...

"But granted some did, and this is not just Icelanders."

Sure. Greed is universal. Every country does it sometime, but that does not remove the need for individuals to ponder their own mistakes.

Within the next year or two, many other countries will dive deep, too.

colinF said...

A pity Iceland's insistence on continued whaling doesn't allow me to feel overly sorry. It thumbed its nose at strong World opinion. Maybe now Iceland must learn to be a more understanding and enlightened World Citizen.

Strong sentiments even though many Icelandic people are not pro-whaling.

Iceland's attitude hardened my heart - sorry.

jax1 said...

hang in there!

Rhonda Kincaid said...

i just wanted to say thanks for the history lesson. It was well written and easy to understand. I hope you get the response you need.

Anonymous said...

You guys have nothing to apologize for; it was your government, not your people, that did wrong.

Chris said...

Great stuff.

Love your ideals and your blog.

"Chris is Starving!"