Friday, January 23, 2009

Is Iceland The Canary in the Mine?

The people of Iceland have had it with their government. Since the country's dizzying plunge into bankruptcy this fall, they have been quietly and stolidly protesting every Saturday outside the Parliament building in downtown Reykjavik.
Icelanders believe, quite rightly, that they have been betrayed by those whom they trusted to guide their ship of state.

Week after week people from all walks of life have gathered in protest. Week after week the government has ignored the people.
Wednesday's protest culminated in a riot complete with police, pepper spray and the pelting of Prime Minister, Geir Haarde's, car by demonstrators. Today Geir Haarde effectively resigned for health reasons. Elections will be held in May. The people have spoken loud and clear. Their voice has been heard.

I hope the lesson of the tiny nation that got turned into a hedge fund while the people weren't looking will not be lost on the rest of the world. We are all teetering on the brink. Even Uncle Sam could go down after eight years of Bush incompetence and cronyism. Iceland is just the canary in the coal mine. Make a note, world. Governments govern only by the consent of the governed. Once that consent is withdrawn, change will come either through the ballot or the barrel of a gun. Better the former than the latter.

Iceland is taking the high road. I hope the rest of the world can profit from its example.

English Language Blogs from Iceland

The Iceland Weather Report -- informed opinion from Reykjavik
Iceland Banking Crisis and More -- on the scene videos and reports
Economic Disaster Area -- the politics and economics explained


Susan said...
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Susan said...

hate it when I misspell inauguration...let me try that again...

Don't you just wonder how, after witnessing the throngs who turned out to celebrate Obama's inauguration, Congress still thinks the usual obstructionist policies are required?

The rift is amazing - watch Fox News and see them saying about Obama just exactly what MSNBC was saying about Bush for eight years. "He's dangerous. He's taking us down exactly the wrong road. If we don't stand in his way, we're headed for disaster."

With that mindset, it's going to take some masterful PR from President Obama to push through any significant reforms.

We're already hearing the criticisms of the new economic recovery program - "it won't work, it's exactly wrong, it's going to accelerate the decline."
But FDR made it clear - he told the country it's better to try SOMETHING than to do nothing. The secret is to just keep trying until something works.

JamaGenie said...

Pinkpackrat, the ballot box is still THE most effective method of notifying elected officials that they are only that. Elected by the people. Allowed to remain in office only as long as performance warrants. Alas, it took America 8 years to send Bush and his cronies packing, along with the fear card they used so long to stay in power. But "by the people and for the people" DID prevail, and so it will in Iceland too. I predict that by the time the sun returns to that beautiful island nation, we AND they will be living in a much better world thanks to those seven words.

pinkpackrat said...

Hi Susan -- I totally agree with you--pick pick pick--it's biz as usual for the boys in the back room, pulling our new prez off his pedestal. As for the Fox/MSNBC effect, I am often amused by how different each one makes the same story sound--all depends on whose ox is being gored I guess.....but right you are, Obama's folks better stay on top of things. I think they will.

pinkpackrat said...

Hello Jama--I was thinking of the situation in Iceland as a harbinger of things to come in other places llike Hungary, Greece, and Latvia. I think Iceland really is the canary in the coal mine on this one--maybe even for us and the U.K. depending on how things go.