October 5, 2022
Sunset in the Westfjords

Why Is Peace So Hard?

Everyday life is waiting for you in all its glory once you’ve explored our lovely capital and the Westfjords and West Iceland in all its autumnal colors. The terrible news emanating from Eastern Europe yesterday still makes today’s daily life different.

Icelanders believe themselves to be Europeans despite living in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Except for the conflicts fought during the Viking Age, Iceland has never been a party to hostilities. In 1944, Iceland won its independence from Denmark after being captured by the Allies during World War II. A few years later, Iceland joined the NATO countries’ defense cooperation. Although there is debate over the benefits of joining a defensive alliance like NATO, this collaboration has given a small country protection, which is priceless in unstable times.

There is perhaps nothing worse for a sovereign state than when another state invades its territory with the intention of occupying it at whatever cost. But given the current circumstances, Ukraine is battling for its independence and is under threat, which was unthinkable a few years ago in modern Europe. As an Icelander, I’m concerned about this and am thinking about this magnificent and elegant country in the east, which after yesterday’s events must face an even larger army, where military conscription is being carried out in Russia to invade Ukraine with greater ferocity and the worry about the use of nuclear weapons has grown.

And why should I, an Icelandic blogger who is simple and humble, be concerned about this? This is our world, and if conditions in Ukraine deteriorate even further, it will have a significant effect on Iceland, all of Europe, and the entire planet. It was not enjoyable to grow up in the Cold War’s shadow. We observed a great deal of activity and armament because our island was situated halfway between the two superpowers. As a result, as the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, the West experienced enormous joy as the Cold War’s ghost vanished like dew before the sun.

If I recall correctly, the West made a significant effort to assist Russia in regaining its footing and building a modern civilization in collaboration with other countries. As international trade grew more prosperous, Russia experienced a huge rise in wealth. Therefore, it is unbelievable that we now have to accept the fact that everything that has gone well is being ruined for the sole purpose of annexed an independent Ukraine to Russia. The adage “an overfed calf rarely pays” is common in Iceland, and I believe it holds true in the case of Russia as well.

Fortunately, Iceland has done what it could to help the Ukrainians. We have taken in refugees, and we back the efforts made by our partners to aid the nation in self-defense. But we are aware that the only way to end this conflict is for Russia to leave Ukraine with its troops and military hardware, allowing Ukraine and other countries to continue coexisting peacefully in beautiful Europe. Why is that so hard?