Solidarity and Empathy as the New Normal

As the dust settles, countries across Europe start to see a glimpse of hope after the first wave of the novel COVID-19 sinks in. Discussions about the relaxation of social distancing rules and lifting travel bans mark a new stage of returning to normality.

A lot has been said in the international media coverage but perhaps not enough about the Icelandic response to the crisis. Surely, this was one of, if not, the most comprehensive and quick reactions as Iceland prepared ahead of other countries. This was followed by a set of policies and guidelines put in place to ensure the population’s wellbeing and allow the containment of the spread.

Political differences took the back seat and the scientific community was allowed to perform its duty efficiently and in a timely manner. Public authorities and the private sector worked in synchronicity and presented an array of solutions to soften the impact of the crisis. But it is not the end of history yet. Now the question is how to properly address the social and economic shortcomings of this unprecedented crisis. Initiatives are in place and solutions are being presented. Many have argued that the measures are yet to address the most vulnerable and essential workers and members of the community.

Just when we thought the worst had passed

The government proved to have its heart in the right place. However, sometimes blood cloths form within blood vessels and having one’s heart slightly on the left of the breastbone has little to do with the health of the body.

With certain trepidation, one could make the bold argument that nurses, teachers and students – the workforce that through their qualified work will sustain the economy for years to come – are the backbone of society and therefore, these represent a distinguished category of individuals deserving not only wages proportional to their incommensurable contribution but also, a safety net during times of hardship. Thus, acknowledging their well-deserved position in the heart of the social fabric and enabling them to flourish despite adversities.

Iceland has one of the largest voting turnout in Europe and is not impartial to social and economic injustice. Scepticism and exercising of one’s civic duty goes a long way towards the betterment of society.

Now it is time for solidarity, cohesion and a bit of irreverence. Basically, like the Daughters of Reykjavik performance’ on KEXP.

The Student organization has put forward a plea for their case and everyone can support it on: https://bit.ly/2YXiI1c

If unchecked, The Raiding Viking’s (Útrásarvíkingur) Strikes Back will come to a shore near you soon.

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