Inauguration in America-Revolt in Iceland
To describe the feeling of watching Barack Obama on television in Reykjavik, on a television in the Hotel Centrum while out the window at the Parliament, Iceland was burning; literally. As emotionally charged as the visual of Obama becoming President, my tears of joy were becoming tears for the Icelanders protesting the government reckless abuse of power. Tear gas was used on a few of the more violent protestors who had surrounded the Parliament; less than 100 yards from my window. I spent about a half hour walking around and taking fotos of the proceedings before watching our hope for the future becoming 44. The Icelandic population is pissed off by the looting of the banks which took place during the collapse of their financial system. The are accusing the government of being accomplises with the bankers in this failure. Very much reflective of what has happened in America; but our voices are silent. As the protests grew larger and louder and at times a bit out of hand, burning Christmas trees and splattering the windows of parliament with paint filled balloons, there were 6000 people at the largest protest. Now from a population of 180,000 in the Reykjavik area that would be about 3 1/2 % of the population. That is more than we even mustered for the inauguration. They are angry; as I have been for the last eight years; although I did shit about it, which made me even more impressed with the Icelandic spirit. The Viking in them will not stand for the rape of their country.
Somehow as this was transpiring out of my left ear I was as proud of my country as I have ever been in my 59 years. We finally did the right thing (thanks Spike!). When I was born a black man or woman could not vote, drink out of the same water fountains or ride in the front of the bus. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Bobby Rush ( former Black Panther who beat Obama in a congressional election), Medgar Evers, Stokely Csrmichael, Julian Bond, James Farmer, Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Joseph Lowrey blazed the trail. And the good Reverend gave probably one of the best Benedictions that I can ever remember listening too. He captured all that has come before and all that we have to look forward to. Forgive the Chief Justice for screwing up the oath; maybe because as a fellow harvard graduate he was a little nervous that the man who voted against his confirmation was now the President. It was a moment filled with joy that captivated the world. We are viewed once again as a great and honorable country. I was proud once again to say I was from the United States of America. George Bush is gone. Praise the good people of America and ll I can say is HALLELUJAH for President Obama. I love the way that sounds. President Obama.
The contrast between our joy in America and the sorrow which is enveloping Iceland is telling. Iceland will recover. These are proud and very strong people. Their heritage is Viking as ours is revolutionary. We have taken back our country and while I am writing this their Prime Minister has resigned due to cancer, the banking minister has just today resigned and there will be elections in May. Change is also in the air in Iceland. The question is “Who will lead this beautiful country back?” Someone strong, progressive and most likely very pragmatic.