Guide to Iceland
Einar Steinn Valgarðsson
A few thoughts on Icesave, or: Well, There It is
A few thoughts on Icesave, or: Well, There It is

A few thoughts on Icesave, or: Well, There It is



The other day, Iceland won the EFTA-courtcase as regards Icesave. As I know that this is a heated issue for many, and also that people may be wondering about the case, I feel I should sum up the result of the case, as far as I've been able to tell, and some of my own thoughts on the matter.

The result seems to be like this: EFTA does not find the Icelandic government accountable. The British and Dutch governments cover the minimum insurance towards the depositors in their respective countries and debts beyond that amount will be paid from the Landsbanki bankruptcy estate, which I'm led to believe should cover it.

I personally have mixed feelings as regards the whole fury over the matter in Iceland. On the one hand, I don't think that the instigators and others responsible should simply be able to pretend that nothing happened, so I have some deep reservations about the 'oh, let's not be blaming people here'-attitude. Particularly when said people have shown no real sign of guilt or apology. And when those businesspeople that supposedly were bankrupt and 'couldn't pay their debts' still go on to high ranking positions, form new companies, buy new yatchs etc. That is actually something that I’ll never be able to understand, but has to do, I believe with ID registration and other such petty legal tricks that one is amazed if it can be lawful and, if if it is, said law may be in need for some serious revision.

 On the other hand, while it is very understandable to be angry and appalled by the whole bankster sham, general bad temper, hate and anger, as well as despair and an overall negative attitude can be quite devouring in themselves. When we are appalled by what we feel is wrong we should endevour to make it better and try to forestall such things happening again.

Icelandic historian Guðni Th. Jóhannesson sums the whole thing up excellently in the final lines of his new book, History of Iceland:

How ironic would it be if the history of the first decades of the third millennium would in future contain the same outline of rise, fall, and rise that characterized the traditional and nationalistic history of the preceding thousand years or so?

Looking back on the fateful year of 2008, Icelanders had hopefully learned their lessons. Pride came before the fall. Still, we could also keep in mind that 2008 was the first year in recorded history, and probably since the settlement of the island, that no lives were lost at sea. Caution, knowledge of our limitations, and respect for the forces of nature; these were the true Icelandic characteristics that offset inevitable losses and kept our forefathers alive on this inhospitable but remarkable island.