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18 Jun, 2020 12:58

Irish Lives Matter? Icelandic Socialist leader calls for removal of statue of country’s founder over 9th century slaves

Irish Lives Matter? Icelandic Socialist leader calls for removal of statue of country’s founder over 9th century slaves

The leader of Iceland’s Socialist Party has taken the crusade against statues to dizzying new heights with a call to tear down a statue honoring the founder of the country because he had Irish slaves 1,100 years ago.

The Black Lives Matter protests that have swept across many countries have brought a push for the removal of statues, with candidates of varying levels of legitimacy being targeted by activists.

Gunnar Smári Egilsson, the founder of the Socialist Party of Iceland, now says the country needs to come to terms with its own bloody history and remove a monument to Iceland’s first permanent Norse settler Ingolfr Arnarson, who founded the capital Reykjavík in 874.

According to the socialist politician, the monument to Arnarson in the city he founded needs to go because he was a murderous slave owner who ruthlessly put down a revolt by his captives. 

Also on rt.com Two top UK companies, including insurance giant Lloyd’s of London, to cough up reparations for slave trade

While Egilsson cited the Black Lives Matter movement as justification for tearing down the statue he may have unwittingly aligned himself with the All Lives Matter faction, because Arnarson’s slaves were largely Irish people, with some others of Nordic origin mixed in.

“Now that the peoples of the world are dropping statues of slave traders and slave owners, Icelanders may wonder whether we should keep this guy for much longer,” the socialist wrote in a pot-stirring Facebook post.

“This is Ingolfr Arnarson, who violently quenched the first popular uprising in Icelandic history, when he murdered the freedom heroes Dufthak and Helga in the Westman Islands, slaves who had revolted against their oppressor Hjorleifr [Arnarson’s step-brother].”

The statue of Arnarson was created by famous sculptor Einari Jónsson and it has watched over Reykjavik since 1924. Judging by the tepid reaction to Egilsson’s rallying cry, it won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

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