Sky as a Kite

Main menu

Ófærð / Trapped and representation

No comments
So I have been watching the acclaimed new Icelandic TV series Ófærð or Trapped for English speakers. It is a good Scandinavian crime/thriller kind of series in the style of Arnaldur Indriðason, complete with xis-gendered, male lead whose marriage just failed and whose career suffered due to a mistake, which haunts him, jadajadajada...
It captures the claustrophobia of snowed in Icelandic small towns pretty well. Having lived in Blönduós I feel I can make that assessment.
However, having lived in a small Icelandic town I was a bit disappointing with the only foreigners represented being criminals (a hilarious caricature of eastern European (Lithuanian) mafioso, I'm sure the 1,683 Lithuanians living in Iceland were pleased) or victims of human trafficking (because all black women are). There are no immigrants anywhere, despite the fact that there are 25.000 (7.4%) of us. In a cast of 30 (only counting Icelandic adults) there should be two immigrants if it were to represent Icelandic reality.
To any film makers in Iceland, I volunteer to be your foreign cast member, as long as it won't be a tourist, criminal or victim. Please acknowledge my existence...


Happy Beer Day!

No comments
Today, 27 years ago beer was legalized again in Iceland, after several years of being the only alcoholic drink prohibited, due to a variety of circumstances.

Beer replaced spirits as the most popular drink in Iceland as soon as it was legalized and if you ever tried Icelandic Brennevín (also called Black Death, an Icelandic Schnapps) you can understand why.



Icelandic alcohol consumption has been mainly increasing in the past 27 years, a rather untypical development for a European country. There is currently a proposal being prepared by an MP of the Independence party to allow for alcohol to be sold in stores (atm the selling of alcohol is only allowed by the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland), despite there being overwhelming evidence that availability of alcohol in stores leads to an increase in total alcohol consumption and especially heavy episode drinking. Binge drinking is already a problem in Iceland, with 1/4th of all adults engaging in binge drinking once a month and 1/3rd of drinkers only.

Having said all that, I am a fan of Icelandic beer and look forward to being able to walk to the store and get a beer when I feel like it.


The past few months in Iceland...

No comments
... went really quickly. Iceland turned from this:

to this:

I moved house and now have a landlord (lady actually) who is not an asshole. Sadly I lost my dutch flatmate on the way (I really should have indexed my boxes). She lives with her boyfriend now, but we have a weekly brunch and go swimming every Tuesday. It is really good to have some motivation to stay active in winter and I am practicing to be able to do front crawl without drowning. I'm getting there.
My new house is awesome, it has floor heating and a dishwasher,. The latter motivates me to make lots of vegan drinks or spreads with my food processor. At some point I might put recipes on this blog, especially of my milk substitutes (oat, rice or coconut), which I like a lot.
University is over for this winter and I'm happier than ever to have chosen the Public Health course. after getting all excited about epidemiology and statistics last spring this semester I got to write a paper about the Millennium Development Goals and the previous post was part of learning how to use social media for health campaigns.
Not that using social media for campaigns is completely new for me, as we had done this with the IWW. We had another workers rights information event with the public library and even got a new member and a pretty logo!

In other news, the first snow storm just happened and Anonymous shut down government and restaurant websites to oppose whaling.
Iceland made news in the past months with a grassroot movement aimed at convincing the government to accept more than the previously planned 50 refugees from Syria. Facebook pages were founded, protests organised and lots of people offered to take refugees into their homes or signed up with the red cross as a volunteer. While the movement was used as another promotion for the liberal paradise that Iceland presents itself abroad, the Directorate of Immigration kept invoking the Dublin regulation whenever they can and the government kept dragging their feet until they finally decided to up the number of refugees they are going to accept from 50 to 200, celebrating themselves as humanist, while every other Nordic country accepts proportionally a lot more.

The police quietly decided to have weapons in the car now, despite falling crime rates, showing some impeccable timing after the Paris attacks.

As every year the Ikea Christmas goat burned down. All I can say about this incident is that my flatmate was installing Christmas lights the day before at IKEA....




Þjóðhátíðardagurinn - 17. June

No comments
Yesterday we celebrated the Icelandic national holiday, the day Iceland became officially an independent nation in 1944 as well as the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, the head of the Icelandic independence movement in the 19th century.

The traditional celebration is to head downtown with the kids, eat candyfloss and hot dogs and participate in festivities ranging from the strongest man competition to an open air concert.

This year one of the activities was a protest on Austurvöllur in front of the parliament during the speeches of the president and prime minister (who got booed a lot during his speech filled with forced optimism for Iceland and his government).

Opinions on the protest were divided. Some were complaining that the protesters were ruining the day for the children. Others found that a protest was in the spirit of Jón Sigurðsson who had stood up with his fellow delegates of the constitutional assembly after their bid for independence from Denmark was unceremoniously dismissed by the royal representative and said in unison

Vér mótmælum allir!

- We all protest!




Strike - update

No comments
Another day - another protest. Me and my fellow workers were back in front of parliament last Friday. This was the 3rd time in 2 weeks that we were protesting after 10 days of ongoing strike actions and stalled negotiations. The government, who had refused to negotiate with its workers before the negotiations in the private sector were over and then had refused to consider any collective agreement, but a carbon copy of the one of the private sector, finally decided to do what it wanted to do in the first place and created a law to take our right to strike away.

Wages in the public sector are lower than in the private sector for people with university degrees. Furthermore public institutions are not flexible enough in their financial management to be able to offer competitive prices.
Healthcare workers in the other Scandinavian countries have a much higher purchase power than in Iceland. As it is easy to get a license in any Scandinavian country with an Icelandic degree the brain drain has been enormous. After the ham-handed way the government handed the negotiations with the workers, even more are thinking of moving abroad, especially nurses, which means the decreased services which had endangered patients well being during the strike is probably going to become the norm in Iceland.

Maybe it is just another move in the continuing effort of the current government to dismantle the public healthcare system.

As a supporter of industrial unionism it was encouraging to see my union BHM to stand in solidarity with the Nurses Union. As workers of the same industry our concerns and demands aligned and we did not let us be played against each other but stood together in solidarity. I also experienced a lot of support at work from other health care workers who did not to belong to our union. The general opinion seemed to be that it is an issue of a struggling healthcare system and that it is in danger of losing an important part of the workforce if working conditions do not improve.


Posted on - Categories: Politics IWW


Pages: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]