Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fosco Left his Heart in Iceland

Fosco has been to Iceland twice and he loves it. They have super moody music, gorgeous landscape (no trees!), and a surprisingly vibrant national literature.

And how can you not love a country that has 100% literacy? That organizes its phone book by first name? That ferments sharks underground and then eats them?

Iceland rawks.

Sadly, though, Iceland has had a wee bit of trouble recently. Thanks to the world-wide crisis in weird financial derivatives, Iceland's banking system has collapsed. As the NYTimes reports, almost two weeks ago,

the government took over the last of three major banks and shut down the stock exchange.

Trading in the Icelandic krona ceased, with foreign banks no longer willing to take the currency — even at what seemed like bargain rates.
This is bad stuff (and not just for Iceland).

Can you imagine what would happen in the US if our banking system collapsed? How would you and your neighbors react? (Here's Fosco's guess.) However, the Icelandic people are responding in ways that only make Fosco love them more.

The BBC has it covered. It turns out that Icelanders are handling it all with the poise and equanimity of a Barack Obama:
A few passers-by [in Iceland] commented that, actually, things were perhaps not that bad. They didn't have any money anyway, so they had nothing to lose.
And how about the angry rioting mobs? Well, not quite:
By midday a crowd of Icelanders had gathered in the square in front of parliament to show unity, they said - stressing that this was certainly not a protest.

And to some degree that was what it felt like - people coming together for moral support.
As Icelandic rock star Bubbi Morthens notes:
"They feel that this gathering, and friends and family and love, are important. This is not a time for anger."
Can you see now why Fosco finds Icelanders to be so refreshing? So, take a moment today to send some money to the Iceland rescue!

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