The Icelanders have issued a letter of apology for crashing their banking system: they are truly sorry.
We, members of the Icelandic nation, are truly sorry for the problems we have caused, and plead guilty with an explanation.
Apart from a brief interlude during the era of the Vikings, we have pretty much kept to ourselves, sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean.
During the last 3 decades of last century we managed to build up a fairly nice and open economy, where everyone had equal opportunity to succeed, get educated, get taken care of if they got sick, with politicians which were unable to do much damage as everyone pretty much agreed how things should be.
We were given access to the European Economic Area in the early 90’s, which was generally regarded as the diet version of the European Union, where we would become members shortly.
This gave us access to the European markets, opened up the free flow of finance, gave our best and brightest the opportunity to go forth and seek their fortune in foreign lands, and for a while things worked fine…
Now they’re protesting: Icelanders Storm Their Central Bank.
The tiny Nordic nation of 300,000, which only last May was named “The Happiest Place On Earth” by the UN, saw its fortunes turn on its head in a matter of days in October after its banks, Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir, collapsed under the weight of billions of dollars of debt accumulated in an aggressive overseas expansion. While all three banks have been nationalized, Glitnir filed for bankruptcy protection on November 26th and Iceland’s largest bank, Kaupthing, filed on Monday.
Thousands attended a peaceful anti-government rally in downtown Reykjavik, chanting slogans, carrying signs and singing.
The rally then developed into a march on the Icelandic Central Bank, where the crowd of several hundred held a tense stand off with riot-gear-clad police. Protesters calling for the sacking of Central Bank chair David Oddsson threw eggs and red paint at the building, but were prevented from entering by the riot police.