A dysfunctional Nordic Family

2014-02-24 17.17.48

A DYSFUNCTIONAL NORDIC FAMILY

By Ann-Sofie Gremaud


“The left wing government did manage to save us from total chaos and national bankruptcy. And of course it was only natural that this massive clean-up work was led by a woman, the first female Prime Minister in our history. And of course it was only natural that all the irresponsible men, responsible for the big mess, have been shouting at her for four years, telling her that she’s not cleaning up fast enough. But now her term is coming to an end, she has decided to retire, and elections will be held on the 27th of April. And the opinion polls indicate that the Icelandic people want the good old times back, they want the irresponsible men back in power.”
Hallgrimur Helgason

DSCF1453These are the words of a frustrated Icelander. The Icelander is the renowned author Hallgrímur Helgason and the words address the current political climate in the time of the upcoming election. Opinion polls indicate that Icelanders will chose to return to a right-wing government led by Framsóknarflokkurinn – a party that has been criticized by Helgason for being provincial, corrupt and standing for the same values that led Icelanders into the current crisis. The debate on social media is heated to say the least and left-wing voices, such as Helgason, are pleading with the public to consider the consequences of a return to a policy and ideals similar to those of the years leading up to the crash of 2008.
The article was published in English at Newsoficeland and the election is on the 27th of April.

The article ends with Helgason’s pungent allegorical image of the entire family of Nordic nations – not free of implicit post- and crypto-colonial critique:

“And this is why every time you go to meeting in the Nordic countries it feels very much like a family gathering. There is the head of the family, father Sweden, looking very rich and fat, and politically correct. But if you look carefully, you can see that his eyes are full of children’s labor in faraway lands. And there is mother Denmark, a bit pleased but mostly annoyed at having to break off her happy hour down at the bar to see her long grown up kids. “Huh huh, there you are…”
The couple divorced many years ago after father started spending all his time abroad with his young mistress Ikea.
And there is the oldest of the children, good old sister Norway. She looks terrific, all dressed up in her new opera outfit. Her husband, Mr. Olje Fondet, is there as well, trying hard not to show himself off as the billionaire he really is. And there is brother Finland, who nobody understands and everybody is dead sure that is not the son of our father, though nobody has ever dared to ask about it. But we do know that once, early in her marriage, mother Denmark traveled alone with her girlfriends out east…
And there is brother Faroe Islands, who will be forty later this year but still lives in his mother’s house, chain smoking and unemployed. And there is the youngest, Greenland, that mother adopted on her own, after the divorce, but was too old to really take care of. And finally there is Iceland, who moved out of his parents house way too early and spent his teenage years in America, heavily influenced by all the things he found there, but then came back home. With the help of drugs and arrogance this kid crashed his car some four years ago. He really doesn’t like to talk about it, and starts shouting at you if you dare to mention it.”



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