Monday, November 15, 2004
For those who miss my old Euro-absurdities news round-ups: from the chronicles of European pacifism - Iceland makes a shocking discovery:
"Far from being hailed as heroes, three Icelandic peacekeepers wounded in Kabul last month received a frosty welcome on returning home as Icelanders proud of their country’s peaceful past seethe over photos of the trio armed to the teeth.It's refreshing to see that Icelandic talking heads show the same trendy left-wing detachment from reality as exhibited by their numerous soul-mates elsewhere in the world. At least Iceland is a small isolated island in the middle of cold and miserable northern Atlantic; what's everyone else's excuse? Says historian Sverrir Jakobsson: "It is a total fake. It is understandable that the French or the Belgians have peacekeeping forces in this region, and anyway they have an army. But for us it is like Iceland is pretending to be a European colonial power. It makes no sense." And talk-show host Egill Helgason adds: "People here are totally embarrassed at seeing Rambo-looking guys with machine guns in camouflage staring back at readers from the front pages through their sunglasses." It's like totally uncool, dude, all those people bringing freedom to the oppressed. But maybe if there were more Rambos, Mr Helgason wouldn't be a Lutheran today. Or maybe if there were no Rambos at all, Mr Helgason would now be speaking Russian. Or German. So many maybes.
"The three, who were participating in NATO’s peacekeeping efforts in war-torn Afghanistan, were injured on October 23 in a suicide bombing in which an American woman and an Afghan girl were killed along with the bomber.
"Following the attack, which was later claimed by the Taliban, photos and video footage of the heavily armed Icelanders wearing camouflage uniforms were published in the media here, sparking controversy in a country that considers itself one of the world’s truly nonmilitary nations.
"Iceland has not had an army or even armed police since the population was converted at gunpoint to Lutheranism and disarmed by Danish colonial troops in the mid-16th century.
" 'If this is not a soldier, then what is?' read the caption under a photo of the three peacekeepers in one of the country’s leading dailies following the attack.
"The government has fiercely denied opposition claims that it has created an army in embryo, without parliament’s consent."