Hugh Green | An Indispensable One

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A bit of an unusual BoTW post. Hugh Green has noted the invisibility in Ireland of a major figure in the Icelandic resistance called Hördur Torfason. Hugh then gives a translation of a Spanish article that gives a profile of him. Well worth a read.

Hugh Green | An Indispensable One

We all know the smug joke for finance traders and their fans that goes “What’s the difference between Iceland and Ireland?” But what is the difference between Ireland and Iceland?

Here’s one: Iceland’s former prime minister, the one who was in charge of the government at the time of the banking sector collapse, was formally charged with criminal negligence for his failure to manage the crisis adequately. Here’s another: Iceland has had two referenda on public repayment of private bank debt, with the majority of voters saying ‘No’ each time. Here’s another: Iceland ‘has largely recovered from its deep slump‘. Clearly there is more to this than a letter and 6 months.


In October of 2008, when Torfason figured that his government was taking him for a fool (he listened to, but didn’t understand, the Prime Minister speaking of tightening one’s belt, from a hairdresser’s) [there is a pun here in the original that I can’t be bothered to try translating – basically ‘tomar el pelo’ means to mock or to take for a fool, but literally translates as ‘take one’s hair’ – HG], the first thing that occurred to him was to get into contact with his neighbours. At least 300,000 of them. In the streets, in the towns, doing theatre or playing guitar. People had to be spoken to and listened to. The “great conversation”, as Jesús Ibáñez says of revolutions, began to travel from mouth to mouth.