November 29, 2022

The Problem of Being Nice

People are nice, at least most people. Most of the time, Icelanders want to see themselves as being nice to other people.

In recent years, Iceland has become a popular destination for asylum seekers. Some people have fled war or persecution in their home countries. As a Schengen member, Iceland makes it more simpler for travelers to enter the country from other Schengen nations. Due to the small population of Icelanders, the proportion of asylum seekers is particularly high. Due to the current circumstances, it is difficult to find housing for all of these people.

The point is that we want to treat every asylum seeker with compassion. A female politician attacked the then-government and the current state of these issues in 2016. She said, among other things, in a loose translation: “I think we want to be a society that welcomes our fellow brothers and sisters fleeing tragic wars. It is possible to help, it is possible to help our people without closing the door to others.” Today, Iceland’s Prime Minister is this politician. 15 asylum seekers were detained and deported yesterday. This happened during a special police operation that was carried out at night.

Many people have criticized this incident, including many in the Prime Minister’s own party. The way we handled these persons who came to stay with us in safety has drawn criticism from many people who feel that we lacked humanity.

There is no doubt that the authorities are abiding by the rules and laws. Compared to many other nations, our laws are thought to be quite lenient. In relation to these issues, we are also obliged by international agreements. Can’t we still be more humane when people are being sent from our peaceful and good country into uncertainty? Being nice should not be a problem. Like our prime minister said years ago: “it is always possible to help”.