China

Iceland’s volcanic revenge on China?

 
 

Iceland -Punching above its weight?

 There’s an old joke about how many famous Belgians you can name, alluding to the concept of the country having an image problem within Europe and being perceived as a dull, bureaucratic place with few redeeming features.   I’ve written about this before on my previous blog site, but I digress.

Well apart from Hergé, the cartoonist and creator of Tintin, Georges Simenon, creator of fictional detective Maigret, Django Reinhardt the jazz guitarist, Jean-Claude Van Damme the so-called actor, the Tour de France-winning cyclist Eddy Mercx, King Leopold who left a dubious colonial legacy in the Congo, Sandra Kim, winner of the 1986 Eurovision Song contest, Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone, the Renaissance artist Ruebens, the 20th century artist René Magritte, pop musician Plastic Bertrand, Jean-Marc Bosman, the footballer who changed the transfer rules, tennis players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin and the singing nun Jeanne Deckers – I’m afraid I can’t think of a single famous Belgian.

Another European country which suffers from a similar syndrome is Iceland.  Although a country with a tiny population of only a few hundred thousand (ie equivalent to the population of Greater Belfast) Iceland has something of a reputation for punching above its weight.  Apart from its banks’ unsuccessful attempt to buy the world, the country’s  national football team recorded a famous victory over Northern Ireland – a team which also recently lost to that other great footballing superpower Albania – but of course it’s all the fault of those nasty southerners for stealing their players – as a certain blogger would have us believe.

The only famous Albanians I can think of are King Zog, the fomer communist-era premier Enver Hoxha and the nun Mother Teresa, who was actually born in what is now the Fomer Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, so techically may not count.  Neverthless the Albanian authorities still saw fit to name their main airport after her.  Rather ironic that a former atheist state, now nominally Muslim should hold a Christian figurehead in such high regard.  One of Belfast’s two airports is named after an alcoholic wife-beater, so follow that as they say.

A famous Albanian?

Iceland however despite its small population has produced many celebrated sons and daughters including the late former Mastermind presenter Magnus “I’ve started so I’ll finish” Magnusson, the pop musician Björk Guðmundsdóttir, the band Sigur Rós, the odd “Miss World”, Erik the Red, discoverer of Greenland,  Eggert Magnússon the businessman and former chairman of West Ham and the Tottenham footballer Eiður Guðjohnsen.

Anyway, getting to the point of this blog – Iceland has been in the news twice during the last 12 months following two unforeseen disasters – the collapse of its banks (and by extension the whole national economy) and the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano which has sent a cloud of volcanic dust into the air over Europe resulting in chaos at the airports.  However one wonders whether the eruption was purely natural or might if have been man-made? 

Iceland was of course engaged in an obscure trade war with its not-so-near neighbour China in 1902, an event which still causes some resentment between the two countries.

There is speculation among world intelligence sources that the eruption was deliberately engineered by Icelandic geologists as an act of revenge for the Sino-Icelandic war, in the hope that the cloud of ash would eventually find its way to China.

Stranger things have happened (but not in Iceland).

Remembering the Sino-Icelandic War

Plastic dinosaurs: the cause of the Sino-Icelandic war

The Institute of Asio-Nordic Studies has called on academics all over the world to recognise the significance of that long-forgotten naval conflict the Sino-Icelandic war of 1902.  This obscure maritime war between the two great sea-faring  powers of the early 20th century Iceland and China evolved from a trade dispute related to tax duties imposed on the export of plastic dinosaurs for distribution in cereal packets.

In fact the war has been almost airbrushed completely from the history books and is no longer taught in either Chinese or Icelandic schools.   Both Beijing and Reykjavik have played down the impact of the war such is their embarrassment about its causes.

The only known expert on the war is the discredited academic Dr Paul Lawkins of the Faculty of Sino-European Warfare at the University of the Faeroe Islands.  Lawkins was sacked from his previous post at Carrickmore University for suggesting that 90% of the world’s pollution was caused by the emissions from cat yawns.

However Dr Lawkins has achieved significant progress in his efforts to bring the Sino-Icelandic War to public attention.  During an archaeological dig in Icleand’s barren volanic interior he unearthed the long lost grave of Captain Floo, commander of the Icelandic naval fleet which launched the unsuccesful attempt to shell Shanghai harbour. 

The inscription on the gravestone carved in ancient Icelandic rune script provides a fitting epitaph.  According to Dr Lawkins’ translation it reads:

“HERE LIES CAPTAIN ALRIP FLOO…AND HE NEVER WANTS TO SEE ANOTHER PLASTIC DINOSAUR AGAIN”.