Mar 16 2007

Week of Iceland Actions in the Low Countries


18 March 2006

Last week saw a number of actions in solidarity with the Icelandic movement in Belgium and the Netherlands. Friday morning, Saving Iceland and the Dutch/Belgian environmentalist network GroenFront! built a dam blockading the entrance of the Icelandic Embassy in Brussels (photo-report). Earlier in the week, a picketline was held at the Icelandic Consulate in Rotterdam and the folk singer Armand, the “Dutch Bob Dylan”, performed songs of praise to Icelandic nature. Finally, EarthFirst! closed down both ALCOA’s Dutch head office in Drunen and an ALCOA factory in Kerkrade, the Netherlands in opposition to heavy industry. The actions express growing international concern about the plans for expansion of the aluminium industry and megahydro in Iceland and other countries such as Trinidad and Brazil.

Recently, the Icelandic issue was also discussed in Trouw, one of the main Dutch daily newspapers, in an article relating aluminium and megahydro to climate change

3 Responses to “Week of Iceland Actions in the Low Countries”

  1. redcurrant says:

    Supposedly ALCOA denied to some dutch journalists that any action had taken place, but as the police stated that ALCOA had actually called them in the morning, their swindle wasnt very convincing…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sounds familiar.

    So far, to my knowledge, there have been no reports in Icelandic media about the protests in Holland and Belgium. It seems ALCOA and the Icelandic State are accomplices in trying to hush up the constantly rising international outrage about their destruction of Icelandic nature. This is pure censorship and stinks to high heaven!

    It also confirms yet again how the heads of Icelandic news departments have consistenly collaborated with the government in suppressing and distorting the views of the opposition to the aluminium projects in Iceland.

    But this is nothing new. During the 1980’s, when Halldór Ásgrímsson (who was forced to resign as PM in June 2006) was minister of fisheries, the whaling policy caused untold damage to Icelandic interests. At the time Halldór Ásgrímsson lied repeatedly to the nation that whaling was not affecting Icelandic interests abroad, when in fact anyone who wanted to know knew that one fish factory after another in Icelandic ownership was having to shut down in Germany, Canada and the US due to public boycots in these countries.

    Now Halldór Ásgrímsson has gone into ignoble exile abroad in some cushy position, when in fact he should be prosecuted for his long record of corruption. Instead he counts his millions, never being known for his concern about his own reputation. But his unexplained scampering out of Icelandic politics was aided at the time by the complete silence of Icelandic media about his real reasons to jump ship. And yet this was our Prime Minister! A man who was very much responsible for the corrupt fish quota system (from which he and his own family ‘dynasty’ profit heavily), the criminally ill-advised heavy industry policy and Iceland’s highly questionable support for the war against the Iraqi people. Not to speak of his personal profiting from the sale of the Agricultural Bank, while in office.

    I could write up an almost endless list of recent instances of media manipulation when it comes to Icelandic envionmental matters. I shall just mention British MP Sue Doughty’s Early Day Motion against the dam projects in Iceland in 2005. The Icelandic media never reported this. (Yet, they keep us constantly informed about trivialities that occur in English society, completely irrelevant to Icelandic interests.) In fact the Icelandic government felt so threatened by Doughty’s EDM that they hurried to get some clueless Labour MP (Mitchell) to make an amendment to the EDM. This “amendment” was brilliantly replied to by Doughty. See

    How this embarrassment for the Icelandic government was not worth a mention in Icelandic media defies my understanding.

    When an environmental activist was being interviewed on a chat programme on the State Radio about hypothetical questions of civil disobedience he seized the opportunity and read aloud the whole of Doughty’s EDM. Apparently the programme presenter was seriously reprimanded by her bosses for allowing this.

    But at last the truth about the grave aluminium threat to Iceland’s unique nature is trickling out to the Icelandic people. That is why our government are scared of protests now more than ever, especially in view of the coming referendum in Hafnarfjördur and the general elections in May. This explains the news embargo on all foreign protests against the dams.

    The intellectualy stagnant Icelandic cold war warriors of the Conservative party and the no less stagnant Progressive Party, with all their routine declarations of love for democracy and freedom of speech have got away with turning Iceland into a banana republic where the freedom to protest and expression of opinions critical of the government are only reluctantly allowed in piecemeal. In their hearts these people are fascists and a lot of Icelandic people feel increasingly that our society is showing glaring symptoms of a serious case of democracy deficit.

    Although this is a well known fact in Iceland our media stubbornly refuse to rise to their responsibility to act as the guardians of democracy and freedom of expression. This media censorship, in relation to the struggle of Icelandic enviromentalists, MUST be analysed and exposed properly before it is too late and more of Icelandic nature is irreversably destroyed by our power abusing government.

    Although news of your protests are suppressed here in Iceland they are vital in exposing the truth to people in your own countries and I am sure have been detrimental in calling the attention of the international media. This mounts the pressure on Icelandic politicians and media to reconsider their policy on the heavy industry programme. Being a pretty basic but nevertheless ruthlessly cunning lot their displays of pangs of conscience, for a few weeks once every four years, are getting increasingly desperate.

    Please keep up the good work, we need your support more than ever.

    In deep gratitude,

    Sigurður Magnússson

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am from Australia. I read the Reykjavik Grapevine, and all other available online sources of Icelandic media online, and I’ve only just come across Saving Iceland. I have to say, I am so very depressed by what I have been finding out. How can this be going ahead? How can someone not be doing something. I know that you (Saving Iceland) have organized protests, and so on. But … doesn’t it seem logical to enter parliament, to form a party that will stand for the unique beauty of Iceland? Or for everyone in favor of the youngest land on earth being saved, what if you all support the party that is standing for that?

    Oh, I wish to live in Iceland when I am older. I hope that lots of you can stop this mess before it gets to far. Iceland is pure, and it must stay pure.

    Oh. I’m so upset by this.
    Oh my dear gods. :(