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Hordur Torfason | 500 Words


Hordur Torfason at the Paramount Cinema, Courtenay Place, 20 March 2013

Hordur Torfason speaks in testament. His personal story. And what a story. A story with purpose, and great weight.

Hordur was the leader of the 2008-09 Cutlery (or Kitchen) Revolution in Iceland, an event which signaled the beginning of the democratic response to the worst side of the global financial crisis.

Short version: After Iceland was bankrupted almost over-night - Hordur said it felt like WW3 had begun - thousands of Icelanders refused to accept the international financial medicine which their Government was taking: they banged pots and pans for four days in their thousands and the Government and the Bank of Iceland Board resigned.

Since then we have seen multiple governments fall around Europe as a result of Bank bailouts and austerity plans. Iceland has served as an example to us all of the insanity - and what happened there was particularly insane.

From Wikipedia:


The 2009–2011 Icelandic financial crisis protests, also referred to as the Kitchenware Revolution[1] or Icelandic Revolution (Icelandic: Íslenska Byltingin) occurred in the wake of the Icelandic financial crisis. There had been sporadic protests since October 2008 against the Icelandic government's handling of the financial crisis. The protests intensified on 20 January 2009 with thousands of people showing up to protest at the parliament (Althing) inReykjavík.[2][3][4]
Protesters were calling for the resignation of government officials, and for new elections to be held.[5] The protests stopped for the most part with the resignation of the old right-wing government.[6] A new left-wing government was formed after elections in late April 2009. It was supportive of the protestors, and initiated a reform process that included the judicial prosecution before the Landsdómur of the former Prime Minister Geir Haarde.
Also, there were held several referenda to ask the citizens about paying or not the Icesave debt of their banks and, finally, a complex and unique process in which 25 common people of no political party were to be elected to form anIcelandic Constitutional Assembly that would write a new Constitution of Iceland. After some legal problems, a Constitutional Council that included those people presented a Constitution Draft to the Iceland Parliament on 29 July 2011.[7]

Last night Hordur Torfason presented to a mostly walk in audience of 230 at the Paramount Cinema in Wellington. His interview with Kim Hill on Saturday (play it below) probably helped with the turnout, and we at Scoop have been delighted to promote his tour.

At the Paramount Tordur was listened to in silence and he held the audience captivated for an hour and half.

At the end a member of the audience held up a book of faces of the Maori Battalion, and have Hordur the name "Hauraki, because he comes from the North". He thanked Hordur for honouring Aotearoa with a visit.

Today he drives north with his husband Massimo to Hawke's Bay (via Dannevirke and Norsewood which seems to me to be eminently appropriate).

There he will speak at St Francis Hall, 6 Ferry Road, Clive. (I wish I could be there as it is the country of my pioneer ancestors, my Great Grandfather settled there in the 1860s.)

From there he heads south to Nelson, then Takaka, then Christchurch and Dunedin (poster below has details) finishing on April 28th.


Hordur Torfason's NZ Tour Poster - March 2013

Hordur is clearly already in love with New Zealand and if his tour continues to be received as it has so far I expect New Zealand and Hordur Torfason will leave a lasting impression on each other.

Hopefully he will come back. If he does it will be a decision for his husband Massimo to make, he says. Till January this year he has stayed in Iceland in large part to be with his father who was his best friend, but who has now passed away.

Hordur says he is not a religious person - however he is clearly a deeply spiritual person.

"Criticism is an act of love", he says.

This is a powerful thing to believe, and it is one which Hordur decided upon as a key of his artistic expression at a very tender age.

His insight is also something I very definitely believe also.

Welcome to New Zealand Hordur. And please tell us your story. We are listening.

Video: Hordur Torfason speaks at Paramount Cinema, 20 March 2013 (In several parts - HD Video - Creative Commons)

Introduction

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Parts 5 & 6 (mainly Q&A with the audience) will be added once they are live on Youtube.

- Alastair Thompson | 500 Words Thursday, 21 March 2013

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