Brave knights

The final þjóðfund took place this weekend, a meeting of 1000 individuals randomly selected from the Icelandic phone book to draft the guiding principles of Iceland's new constitution. The resolutions of that meeting have met with widespread approval. Even though I might not think the European Union is the worst idea, and even though I am the product of the Nato Base here in Iceland, the principles outlined by that group calling for Iceland to always have self-governance and to be a peaceful international partner strike me as beautiful and oh so worthy. Iceland needs to stand for something, something the citizens of Iceland can be proud of. I heartily congratulate those 1000 people for serving their nation so well, and I think it bodes well for the election later this month of the 31 people to the stjórnalagaþing. I plan on voting for individuals who I think have enough knowledge of the Icelandic language and international law, as well as a core of moral righteousness, to be able to draft a document that can grow and change with the Icelandic nation, always providing a measuring rod for generations to come. That the protection of Icelandic natural resources was also listed as part of the resolution of the þjóðfund is just the sort of forward thinking, 21st century clause that would make a new Icelandic constitution something to be widely heralded internationally.

It was precisely because of my hope that these two processes, the process of the þjóðfund and the process of the stjórnalagaþing, would bear rich and meaningful fruit that I was so opposed and upset by the protests of October 4th, 2010. Those protests seemed to be calling for some sort of ill-thought out quick-fix, the sort of solution which Ármann has, quite historically correctly, referred to as fascist. When people attempt to overthrow a careful democratic process in favor of something with no rules and no guiding principles, a very slippery slope downhill comes next.

Instead the Althingi should be given a very clear message that they must honor the democratic process that has begun this weekend, and step aside with graciousness after the new constitution is ratified. In that way they show their conviction that the primary right of Icelanders is their right to self-governance.


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