Iceland is a country with a small population that rarely makes the headline news. Even though some amazing political triumphs have occurred there, it is likely that the majority of people haven’t heard a thing. Icelanders have a reputation, similar to Canadians, of being very kind, welcoming, and polite.
The government has already planned to take in in 50 refugees from the Syrian conflict, but that is a minuscule number when you consider the 4 million or so people who have fled Syria since a civil war began back in 2011. The people of Iceland felt they could do better than that, so a Facebook page was launched.
Now about 17,000 people from a population of just over 300,000 have joined the Facebook page, if you do the math that’s over 5% of the entire nation’s population offering a place in their home for these people who need it the most. The goal is to show the government that there is an enormous will from the citizens to do more.
Statements Made By Icelanders
The statements below were made by Icelanders on the Facebook group that was created, Here’s what they had to say:
“I’m happy to look after children, take them to kindergarten, school and wherever they need. I can cook for people and show them friendship and warmth. I can pay the airfare for one small family. I can contribute with my expertise and assist pregnant women with pre-natal care.
“I have an extra room in a spacious apartment which I am more than happy to share along with my time and overall support.”
“I’m a single mother with a 6-year-old son… We can take a child in need. I’m a teacher and would teach the child to speak, read and write Icelandic and adjust to Icelandic society. We have clothes, a bed, toys and everything a child needs. I would of course pay for the airplane ticket.”
A Great Example Of Being The Change
“Refugees are our future spouses, best friends, our next soul mate, the drummer in our children’s band, our next colleague, Miss Iceland 2022, the carpenter who finally fixes our bathroom, the chef in the cafeteria, the fireman, the hacker and the television host. People who we’ll never be able to say to: ‘Your life is worth less than mine.’ “
This just goes to show how Icelanders genuinely care for those in need and do not define other cultures as “other”; what they see are people who need help, and they want to be there for them in their time of need.
Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, told the Icelandic station RUV: “ I believe there is solidarity in that we should do more to respond to the problem, we just have to find out the best way to do it.”
The United Nations is calling the Syria conflict the worst humanitarian crisis for almost a quarter of a century.
Way to go Iceland! Being the change, and leading by example!
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