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Iceland gets scant notice here. But it's financial collapse several years ago was spectacular -- the country went from being highly prosperous to being essentially bankrupt almost over night.

But Iceland is remarkable in many ways, aside from its unique geography. The populace is exceptionally well educated. After their economy was trashed by the bankers, the country's women have played an ever more prominent role in politics and government, leading The Nation to call it The Most Feminist Place in the World. And during the past week, two amazing developments were noted in the world press, but (of course) largely ignored here:

Iceland's Ex-PM Faces Possible Charges In Financial Crisis

September 28, 2010 from APM

Iceland's former Prime Minister Geir Haarde has been referred to a special court in a move that could make him the first world leader to be charged in connection with the global financial crisis.

After a heated debate Tuesday, lawmakers voted 33-30 to refer to the court charges against Haarde for allegedly failing to prevent Iceland's 2008 financial crash a crisis that sparked protests, toppled the government and brought the economy to a standstill by collapsing its currency...

And no less amazing, a news story I discovered only by browsing a news channel from Spain, which actually covers events of note from around the world:

Iceland's first lady climbs security fence to join protest

Iceland’s first lady, Dorrit Moussaieff, joined protesters in a bold move to show her sympathy for people hit by the debt crisis. As the Icelandic president and MPs came under fire from angry protesters on Saturday, on their traditional walk to church marking the opening of the parliamentary session, the President’s wife broke away to join the protest. Protesters, demanding that the government do more to help struggling households, had lined the streets in central Reykjavik pelting politicians with eggs and yogurt.

The article includes a video which shows Ms. Moussaieff climbing over a barrier to join the crowd and hug protesters, showing what appeared to be genuine affection and sympathy for ordinary Icelanders. There are some rather remarkable photos that are worth a look, as well.

The article about Ms. Moussaieff goes on to note that, "A heated debate ensued discussing whether her sympathy for the protesters is genuine or simply a well enacted PR stunt." One commenter noted that she had had a fight with her husband during an interview with a foreign magazine, where she expressed her wish to joint the protests, and that there is a perception that "she wants to be the people's first lady rather than the elite's first lady."

What we are seeing is truly a global movement. Every country is different of course, each with unique economic, historical, social and political dimensions. But we are seeing an international realization that when equality of opportunity is taken away, when democracy is threatened by oligarchy, when there are ever widening disparities in wealth and power, that fundamental corrections must be made.

For each country, those corrections will of necessity be uniquely tailored.

But we can learn a great deal, and leverage our efforts, by both paying attention, and allying ourselves with spontaneous grassroots efforts everywhere that seek economic and social justice, and restoration of equality of opportunity.

What is happening in the tiny country of Iceland is fascinating. If a former prime minister can be brought up on charges for complicity in his country's financial collapse, what does that say about our insistence as a nation on holding harmless the perpetrators of the theft of our national wealth and the architects of the destruction of our middle class, and our refusal to make fundamental changes so that these destructive trends can be reversed?

And what does it say about the effective isolation of our leaders in their Beltway bubble, while in Iceland, the first lady climbs over barriers to hug protesters? Yes, I can see Michelle Obama doing that, and yes, it's absolutely understandable why security concerns make that impossible here. But the story about Ms. Moussaieff's would clearly resonate here, and be an inspiration to #OWS, if the press were to do the unthinkable and actually report it. So, I decided to help spread the word about it here.

Closing words? Occupy Everywhere.

Originally posted to flitedocnm on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 06:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unifying theme? Equality of Opportunity for All. (37+ / 0-)

    When the press insists over and over that "there really is no message", I'd suggest that this is the unifying message that must be repeated: the American Dream has been stolen by those who put the profit of the very few above equality of opportunity for everyone.

    And, unless we get that back, we are finished. No more "greatest nation", no more American exceptionalism.

    So, what does OWS want? We want each and every human being in this country to have the same chance to succeed, to realize their dreams, that those who now own and control everything have.

    And we need to fix our very broken system in whatever way it takes, to make that happen.

    That means we need trade policies and tax incentives that do NOT reward shipping good jobs overseas. That means fairness in asking those who have benefitted the most to give back the most. That means excellent public education, available to everyone. It means rebuilding a country that works -- for EVERYONE.

    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

    by flitedocnm on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 06:32:45 PM PDT

    •  We Solved All of This. Almost Every Piece By the (13+ / 0-)

      Democratic Party which now opposes most of the fixes.

      --Although other countries did some of it first, and have done some of it better.

      I recall hearing audio of FDR during the New Deal period deriding some of the Economic Royalists for their objections to paying >>50% taxes. He said he invites them to leave the country as they threatened and face the tax rates in any other civilized country.

      I REALLY need to bone up on that topic.

      The grimmest feeling I've ever had is that I'll go to my grave with my country believing that these problems have never been addressed let alone fixed before.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 07:03:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, equality for all! (6+ / 0-)

      Lincoln said it in the Gettysburg Adress:

      "...a new Nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men (people) are created equal..."

         And the way to fix our very broken system is one of the other great unifying themes:
           Power to the People (Where it belongs!)

         Lincoln talked about that one at Gettysburg too:

      "...that a government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the People shall not perish from the Earth."

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 07:10:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I saw the video of this (11+ / 0-)

    on a European protest website (I didn't save the link). It was amazing how intimate the Icelanders are with their politicians, close enough to hug the first lady (who looks like  a non-asshole version of Sarah Palin) while chucking eggs at the rest of the lot.

    If the fall of the house of Murdoch is a tragedy, it is the feel-good tragedy of the century-James Wolcot

    by beltane on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 06:42:25 PM PDT

    •  Here is the link to the video: (5+ / 0-)

      If the fall of the house of Murdoch is a tragedy, it is the feel-good tragedy of the century-James Wolcot

      by beltane on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 06:45:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fewer people in whole country than Portland OR (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      beltane, flitedocnm, Creosote, martini, semiot

      Everybody is somebody's cousin, pretty hard for emperors like Dick Cheney to prosper in that environment.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 07:04:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Icelanders can be intimate with their politicians (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martini, flitedocnm, semiot, mint julep

      because handguns are banned in Iceland, so Icelandic politicians do not have to fear that their constituents will shoot them like US pols who have to hide behind layers of security or suffer the consequences of an open politician like Congresswoman Giffords did in Arizona earlier this year.  The fear that you constituents will kill you probably resonates with many US politicians who have seen their fellow officeholders gunned down over the years.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 09:42:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sad, and very true. Which of course makes it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        semiot

        much more difficult for politicians to escape from the bubble that so easily surrounds them -- but at the same time, makes it that much more imperative to do so, since the need for security also contributes to so many politicians being so out of touch.

        I live in a state, New Mexico, where it's actually possible to get to know elected officials personally, but more and more it's in the context of fundraisers. The entire process is horribly distorted and surreal, and it's easy to see how even well intended politicians end up being sucked in so completely that they really have very little idea, on a truly personal level, of the horrendous state of affairs on main street.

        That's partly why I posted this diary. It's such an anachronistic journey into a much more personal society, that still cherishes the concept of community, even while iceland is probably more hi-tech than we are -- a reminder of what we've lost, and hopefully, what still might be possible to restore.

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 11:51:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Handguns are only "kind of" banned in Iceland. (0+ / 0-)

        You can still get them for collection or sports competition purposes.  Just like you can get high caliber guns for large game sports hunting purposes.

  •  Wowza! (8+ / 0-)

    Occupy the planet! Wish I could rec this more than once.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 06:44:14 PM PDT

  •  Isn't the Pres of Iceland (5+ / 0-)

    a ceremonial post (head of state)?

    Their prime minister runs the government - at first I thought her wife (yes, the PM is gay and married to a woman) was the "first lady."

    I'm sort of shocked the spouse of a head of state would join a protest to be honest.

  •  SPECTACULAR. The Story is Known and Is Periodicaly (5+ / 0-)

    covered here. Thanks for putting this up and I'll rec and pass links around.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 06:59:56 PM PDT

  •  I'm not sure any head of state (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini, flitedocnm

    could be connected with intentional wrongdoing in these derivatives scams. And yes, they are scams when they aren't  tied to a particular future use of a particular and specific block of money.

    The people sent out to hawk these bombs likely had no more idea about their mechanics and validity than did their victims. I'm sure the rocket scientists and the mathematicians back at the Goldman Sachs lair knew, and maybe a few well paid minions in the various ratings houses....we should find them and jail them.

  •  I did see a video report here in the US. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini

    Can't remember where....could it have been Rachel?

    "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

    by 417els on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:15:39 PM PDT

  •  Iceland rocks! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, alizard, martini

    Here is where the example lies for the Revolution. Jail the banksters and their cronies, and just say no to bailouts. We will prevail.

    -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

    by Wreck Smurfy on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:37:50 PM PDT

  •  This is fantastic, thanks for sharing! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm
  •  I recall seeing Geir Haarde on TV in China (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot

    On the CCTV show "Dialogue" in, I think, early 2008 when he was riding high on the fame of Iceland's economic miracle.

    I must admit I was impressed with his performance and inclined to this this was real because of the high education level of Icelanders and perhaps some positive experience with my Finnish colleagues, but I thought he was exaggerating a little.

    Well, a lot! When the crash came and he soon resigned it was really a lesson and maybe he will get one now.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:11:29 AM PDT

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