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 Once that consent is withdrawn, change will come either through the ballot or the barrel of a gun.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