When we grow up we want to be Icelanders!
– one of the slogans of the Spanish M-15 Movement
Iceland is one of the most beautiful and strange looking places on Earth. Its scenery and natural phenomena like volcanoes and aurora borealis confer upon it an otherworldly aura and it’s no wonder most Icelanders still believe in elves and in little magical people. But the fairy-tale magic of Iceland was abruptly suspended in recent years when Icelanders felt the asfixiating effects of the banking crisis.
In other countries, high-end banker criminals walk the street with impunity and are in every way treated as royalty, as Matt Taibbi in his admirably honest Rolling Stones article Too Crooked to Fail attests. But not in Iceland: the small country has jailed some of the main bankers responsible for their current state of international debt.
Bloomberg.com reports that “Byr Savings Bank former Chairman Jon Thorsteinn Jonsson and the lender’s ex-Chief Executive Officer Ragnar Zophonias Gudjonsson were today found guilty of fraud and sentenced to four and half years in prison by Iceland’s Supreme Court.”
Icelandic journalists are even blaming the right culprits and have begun to speak of ‘inappropriate loans’ that were taken by their bankers! Haukur Holm, of AFP, reports:
… the publication last month of a parliamentary inquiry into the island nation’s profound financial and economic crisis signaled a turning of the tide, laying much of the blame for the downfall on the former bank heads who had taken “inappropriate loans from the banks” they worked for.
Imagine if we lived in a world where most journalists refered to IMF and World Bank loans as ‘inappropriate‘, accurately explaining how a small, corrupt elite of central bankers tend to lend huge sums of money to a small, corrupt elite of politicians and bankers in vulnerable countries … who profit from these transactions and then transfer the debt to their constituencies! This has happened for generations, time and time again, both in developed and in third world countries. But some small countries, like Iceland, are not built to, or willing to, endure this scheme.
In the midst of what had, for the most part, been mainstream media’s blackout of the events going on in Iceland, we have been getting mixed messages: some say an all-out revolution is taking place there, others refute it. October2011.org explains why Iceland has not been in the news:
An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world.
Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.
The article then goes on to explain Iceland’s crisis in terms that the layman can understand, even claiming that the Icelandic people went through the process of rewriting their constitution online in a popular act of decentralized, participatory democracy never before seen in history.
To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.
However many of the assertions of this article have been refuted. An Icelandic contributor to Dailykos.com said:
It’s true; we had a referendum to elect a Constitutional Assembly—a group of twenty-five people tasked with writing a new Constitution. But there were 500 plus candidates to choose from, and the results were nullified because proper election procedures weren’t followed.
Rather than hold another referendum, those individuals were ‘appointed’ to a Constitutional Committee. They have now submitted a ‘proposal’ for draft of our new Constitution, but we by no means have a new Constitution yet! This is definitely jumping the gun. Our old one still reigns supreme.
Having been asked to assume the responsibility to pay the debts of corrupt bankers and politicians, the people of Iceland opted against enslavement through debt at the mercy of the international bankers and even went as far as crafting a new constitution to guarantee their sovereignty in these dangerous globalized times we’re living through.
The reports may not be entirely clear on what’s going on in Iceland but whatever the case, we know that Iceland is jailing its corrupt bankers, popularly rejecting an immoral and unjust burden of debt that they did not in the first place assume, and ensuring the future preservation of their sovereignty through a constitutional process … and showing everyone else how it’s done.