Silence of the European Mass-Media on Iceland Is Not a Coincidence

EUROPE, 18 Jul 2011

Pavel Křivá – Pressenza

The mainstream mass-media have been silent about the protests and the example of a popular revolution that took place in Iceland two years ago, when citizens made the government step down and rewrite the constitution. Because the events in Iceland are a model for how to make a popular revolution, the information has been hushed up.

The censorship of the revolution in Iceland is a typical example of how information that could be dangerous for the political and financial elite are treated.

The people of Iceland have refused their current form of government; big banks have been nationalised and people have decided that they will not pay debts created by politicians. The new constitution declares that the citizen, and not the politician, is the main political protagonist.

Although the revolution was not completely calm and free from violent incidents, Iceland has become one of the respectable examples of a peaceful and dignified reaction of people, who have effectively won more democratic control.

The hushed up facts about Iceland:

  1. The biggest bank was nationalised. The currency collapsed, the market froze. The country went bankrupt.
  2. Masses of people protested in front of the Parliament and made the prime minister and his government resign. Politicians called for paying the debt to the UK and the Netherlands – under the plan Iceland would pay 3,500 million Euros over the next 15 years at an interest rate of 5.5%.
  3. People went to the streets, called for a referendum and succeeded. In January the president refused to ratify the new law and said that he would consult it with the EU. People went to the streets again. In March a referendum was held in which 93% of citizens refused to pay the debt to the UK and the Netherlands.

A second attempt at a repayment deal with lower interest and longer time scale was also rejected in a referendum of the Icelandic people.

The government was forced to start an investigation that would investigate if representatives of the state were legally responsible for the financial crisis. Some leading bankers and managers were arrested. Interpol issued an order and all bankers involved had to leave the country.

The people are writing a new constitution that is no longer a copy of the Danish constitution.

A Constitutional Assembly, formed by persons directly elected by the people, has started to operate in February, 2011, and has presented a draft of a new constitution based on consensus and recommendations of experts, and with extensive use of the internet to gather the opinions of Icelandic citizens. It will have to be approved by the new representatives of the Parliament that were elected in the new elections.

This is a brief history of the revolution in Iceland: resignation of the government, nationalisation of the banks, general referendum, arresting of the people responsible for the crisis and a new constitution written directly by the people.

Thousands of journalists working for corporate newspapers, radio and television stations have joined the boycott of information about Iceland.

Civil society in Iceland has stood up against a corrupt and unsustainable system and gave us a lesson in real democracy – a lesson that will sooner or later come to be well known and appreciated.

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