Archive pour 29 avril 2009

Nés pour un petit pain? Nah, think big sti!

J’ai souvent l’impression qu’il est encore plus dur de ne pas être régionaliste au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean que nationaliste au Québec. N’empêche, le repli identitaire est loin d’être une qualité pour une société.

Mercredi, l’éditorial d’Iceland Review est un succulent plaidoyer en faveur de l’ouverture sur le monde de la société islandaise. Changez les mots et il est valide universellement.

29/04/2009 | 11:27

God the Cod… There’s Something Fishy Going On

Is it cultural to eat fish? Yes, in Japan it is. Where the food is so beautiful (and good) that you spend more time looking at it than eating. In Japan, food is art. They have the world’s best cuisine.

The best food here in Iceland is our lobster. The texture and taste is just perfect. Last Sunday I had the privilege to be at party where there was plenty of lobster, just fried in garlic and butter.

Lobster has only been caught and eaten here for 25 years. Icelanders weren’t used to catching and eating ugly or strange species. The fishermen didn’t bother to bring them to shore, even if foreigners were willing to buy them. Our culture is cod culture.

When I returned from Sweden in 1982 where I had studied photography for three and a half years, the biggest news story at the time was whether the dairy in Húsavík, north Iceland, should be allowed to sell its trademark yogurt, Húsavíkurjógúrt, in Reykjavík.

Quite a few members of the public and parliament thought it wasn’t right. They argued that the yogurt that was produced in the capital should be eaten there and that the yogurt from Húsavík, even if it tasted much better, should be eaten there and not to be transported the 500 kilometers to Reykjavík.

A few years later, I was in transit at Kastrup, the international airport in Copenhagen, on my way home. A young parliamentarian was seated at the next table, drinking bottle after bottle of beer. He was having a nice time, quality time.

Some weeks later, he voted against the bill on allowing beer to be sold here in Iceland. It wasn’t good for the people in Iceland to drink beer, he said. Thank God that the majority of MPs in parliament were not as narrow-minded.

Now he is older, maybe wiser, and chairman of Left-Greens, the party which gained the most support at last Saturday’s parliamentary elections compared to the results of the elections in 2007.

And now, 20 years later, he and his party knows what’s best for the people of Iceland: NO to Europe. We should not launch membership discussion with the EU. We have our God, the cod. And Icelandic butter, yogurt and lamb.

NO to Europe is the agenda of the parties to the far left and the far right. The conservative people. People who have never lived abroad. People who believe that Iceland is the best. That isn’t so.

Last Saturday, on prime-time television, the Left-Green chairman called us who believe in Europe and international cooperation elitists.

And a part of the Independence Party, Oddsson’s arm, thinks the same way. They want isolation. Let’s live off the good old cod.

It might have worked last century, or century before that, but not now.

We who want to join the EU want to have the opportunity to educate our people in the best schools abroad, travel, be international—a part of Europe and a part of the world. But first and foremost our businesses need to be a part of the EU and operate with more stable currency than the good old króna.

Iceland must play and work in the world’s premiere league. Otherwise we will go backwards, back a quarter of a century when there was only one type of yogurt in the supermarkets, shortage of bananas and no beer.

Only cod almighty, which we didn’t cook but boil to hell for ages. It was another culture, European culture, that taught us to prepare cod properly. And now the Japanese have helped us turn cod into art.

The world is getting smaller. We are not just small, but a tiny nation that should and must think big. Be international. Yes, off 2 planet Europe.

Páll Stefánsson – ps@icelandreview.com

Je le trouve particulièrement significatif à un moment où la crise financière amène le monde à brandir les barrières protectionnistes, et surtout à un temps où une Islande qui panse ses plaies pourrait être tentée de se voir comme la grenouille qui voulait être plus grosse qu’un boeuf.

Quant à ma référence à Elvis Grattons, je la trouve de circonstance puisque son emploi par Falardeau n’est pas innocent. En se moquant des Québécois qui « think big », il plaide pour une marginalisation du Québec.


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