Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Iceland holds its breath – report Monday

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‘Happy festivity’ – ‘gleðilega hátíð’ – one of my colleagues at the radio said as he walked in earlier this morning. His greeting gives a sense of the spirit in Iceland. Even the weather is completely still, not a straw moving, after gales and rain yesterday. Here at Ruv, the Icelandic State Broadcaster, there is tremendous excitement in the air.

Driving through Reykjavik around 7.30 local time (GMT) I could sense the country holding its breath. Yesterday, at a café in Reykjavik a couple and two men all in their forties on the table next to me were discussing the report. They weren’t sure they would read the whole thing but they were going to follow transmissions during the day and have a look at the website. Last night, visiting relatives, we spent most of the evening talking about the situation in Iceland and what we expect from the report.

Yesterday, I talked to the director of a large public institution. At his work place the television will be running in the canteen the whole day. People can gather there to watch the press conference later on and then interviews and reporting. Those who want to read the report during the day can do so. The same is the case all over the country. At the City Theatre, Borgarleikhusid, actors will start reading as soon as the report is published.

Early this morning the Investigative Commission meets the Althingi’s presidium and the MPs get their copies of the report – over 2000 pages in 9 volumes – you need roughly 40cm in your bookshelves to house it. The press conference is due to start at 10 and at 10.40 the report should be available on-line. The on-line version, with additions not in the printed version, will first be available on the Commission’s website but will then be put on the Ruv website and do doubt other websites as well.

In addition to the on-line version the report has been printed in 6000 copies that are now being driven to bookshops, with great care being taken that no one takes an untimely peep. These copies are now sold out, have all been pre-ordered. Consequently, 2,4 km of bookshelves will be filled today all over Iceland.

I’ve just realised that I’ll need a pass to get into the press conference so I better go and see the lady here at Ruv who is in charge of these precious things. She’s expecting me so I better run.

‘With all this excitement I hope there’s something in the report!’ a technician said just now as he greeted me. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot to take in – it will take some time to digest. Whatever its content, the report is the first deep-ploughing report in any country on the crises. Just that is a feat in itself. Now that a lot of things will be clarified the hope is that some of this past can be laid behind – though justice will need to be done in those cases where individuals have allegedly broken the law.

PS Re justice – the Investigative Commission met yesterday with a special prosecutor, from the Office of the Special Prosecutor set up to deal with cases related to the collapse of the banks. The purpose of the meeting was to inform him on issues and areas where the Commission thinks there might be grounds for further investigation.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

April 12th, 2010 at 8:54 am

Posted in Iceland

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