A letter to a brother abroad


Image of Iceland by Halldor Baldursson, the last whale, the last puffin, lots of elves and Eidur Smari who can't get a game
The current image of Iceland by Halldor Baldursson. The last whale, the last puffin, lots of elves and Eidur Gudjohnsen who can’t get a game at Barcelona.
By anonymous Icelandic woman, aged 33 (not the same one from the previous post) 
Dear brother,
This is our reality today. Be happy you left Iceland a few years ago and consider yourself lucky to have exited at exactly the right time. I wish I had had the same sense as you. Now I’m stuck here and I cant leave. And this is why:
In our beautiful country, the following facts are our day-to-day reality:
  • To serve very few – actually only a number of people – a 15 year marketing of Icelandic healthy food products, such as our lamb, fish and dairy products has been thrown out the window so that those very few can hunt and kill a few whales for “experimental” purposes. Im referring to the fact that one of the largest importer of Icelandic products in the USA, Whole Foods, has threatened to stop trading Icelandic products altogether and already has stopped promoting it in their stores. All thanks to the experimental hunting, which by the way is totally useless since there is almost no market for the meat, and we already know what they supposedly are researching. Others are already following Whole Foods example. And I say this even though I know that the whales are becoming overpopulated and are actually hurting our fishing territories badly and should be kept at a bay in terms of numbers in our fishing grounds. But it’s just not worth it any way you look at it. – This leads me to the other catastrophic result of the whaling being the masses of tourists from around the world who already believe (thanks to our friends in Green-Peace) that the whales can’t be killed cause they liked the movie Free Willy so much… This results in a dramatic decrease in tourist visits to Iceland and whale-watching, just when this country so desperately needs foreign currency more than anything… Shame on you ex-minister of fisheries, for imposing those laws on us 5 minutes before your sorrow-ass government was made to resign due to scandals upon scandals… upon scandals. 
  • Another fantastic fact is that we – the Icelandic nation – are still under terrorist laws imposed on us by the British Government and are therefore regarded in the same category as the infamous TALIBANS of Afghanistan.
  • The average Icelandic “Jón” today gets harassed all over Europe and even spat on like a criminal and is subject to endure shouts from random people on the street like “GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK!”  – even as they are innocently having ice-cream on a street corner in Amsterdam, spending some of their extremely expensive euros they bought for their devalued and outcasted currency the Krona. 
  • Over half of Icelandic households now have to face negative cash-flow, which means that their assets are worth less than the debts those assets are financed with. That’s depressing as hell. Let’s especially give an applause to the now-resigned fantastically incompetent government and of course, the star of the year – PRICE INDEXATION. 
  • The special DA (District of Attorney) appointed to investigate the mind-boggling crimes committed in the last years during the so-called ÚTRÁS (i.e. the era of fantastic over investment via debt and hard-earned assets of the Icelandic nation) – the sociopathic banking boys (THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM) and their friends from the Icelandic business life, now answers to the name Winnie the Pooh – and rightfully so, cause he is up to his ears in poop but he wouldn’t be able to catch a kid stealing candy in a candy store. He is the laughing stock of this nation which by the way is still in outrageous denial of the exponential problems that lie ahead that it is beyond grasp…. Hopefully Eva Joly will turn things around for us, after being summoned to the scene of the crime by a TV talk show host… (WTF?)
  • While it is evident that it is virtually impossible to stay here – unless you are heavily wired into the “right” political party and/or the right business blocks who now are each scrambling to acquire as much of the pieces off the bankrupt table… Then it is equally impossible to get out of here… The real-estate market is completely frozen – except if you are ready to do some trading with apartments/houses i.e. get another asset instead and therefore minimize the flow of cash that exchanges hands at each given time. This actually keeps up a false price of properties but at the same time, there is no money available to purchase for so this is really the only mean to get rid of a property – but you get stuck with another instead. So don’t even think about selling and getting the hell out of doge… You can’t even turn in your keys like you can in the USA – the debt will trail you to the end of the world and back.
  • In the same way, the already undeveloped and unsophisticated rent-market in Iceland is being trashed by – again – the same institutes as got us into this mess – namely the banks. It is estimated that between 7.000-10.000 properties are almost finished or already finished but not sold in the Reykjavik and vicinity area – and most of the contractors that built those properties are now bankrupt. The people who run the banks now – namely the State of Iceland, for now at least – have now again decided to go into a business they know nothing about (i.e. the privatization of the banks in 2003, given to people with NO know-how of running banks) – and have founded real-estate companies WITHIN all the major banks. There they now store all the properties taken over from bankrupt contractors and individuals and since those properties can’t be sold now – they are being dumped into the rent market and deliberately and outrageously undermine the existing rent-market. 
  • That’s why you can’t win in any situation here at the moment – if you are one of 15.000 who have lost their job’s in the last 6 months, then you can’t keep your apartment, you can’t sell it and you can’t rent it out.  
  • This is how fantastic it is to be an Icelander today. We have a new term that describes this well: Helvítis fokkings fokk. I’m sorry but I can’t translate that into English, it just wouldn’t do it justice. 
  • Well… I could go on, but if I would, I would probably throw myself of the nearest rooftop when I hit SEND and you’ll probably do the same upon receiving my email, and we don’t want that. You know I love you all dearly and I’m happy that you don´t have to endure this, but it is important you guys know what is going on here, so that you keep being happy where you are and by no means start planning your return here any time soon. 
  • I love this country more than anything and I am so proud to be (correction – I USED to be SO proud to be an Icelander) – but that all has changed so dramatically now. What hurts the most is that once we would get a special treatment almost anywhere in the world – just for being from Iceland. We had amazing Good-Will anywhere we travelled. That Good-Will has now been taken away from us and we are left with just the debts and the shame of being the citizens of this corrupt state. That hurts. I want my good-will back, I used to get so much free stuff while traveling, just for being an Icelander. Now I get charged extra, and they won’t take my credit cards! This sucks and I want to leave.   
  • Iceland is – and always will be the best place in the world. Seen from a distance. 



2 Responses to “A letter to a brother abroad”

  1. 1 C.A.K March 30, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    “used to get so much free stuff while traveling..” If it wasn’t for that sentence i slightly could have accepted what you wrote. but that there just makes you sound like an annoying spoiled kid, who is just about to realize the old saying: there is no such thing as free meal!

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