After the Icelandic government had agreed that they would only accept fifty refugees this year, a Facebook event was created. The goal was to encourage Icelanders to call out their government to welcome more Syrians into the country.
The Facebook page blew up immediately. Different people offering different things. Besides residence, some people would also offer food, education, clothing and so on.
Bryndis Bjorgvinsdóttir, the woman behind the Facebook page wrote an open letter to the government, saying that she would welcome five Syrian refugees in exchange for their flight to be paid. She also wrote that these refugees, whom she calls human resources, are more than just refugees. “They are our future spouses, best friends, the next soul mate, a drummer for our children’s band, the next colleague, Miss Iceland in 2022, the carpenter who finally finishes the bathroom, the cook in the cafeteria, a fireman and television host,” she wrote in her open letter.
Taking this letter as an example thousands of others wrote their own propositions down in that Facebook group.
To see what people wrote, I dug into the page myself and read what these thousands of people were writing. These are some of the heart-warming messages that I could find: “I want to do whatever I can. I have clothing for adults. We want to be joyful with a foster family. I can take part in integration processes for both children and adults, I have experience in this area. I can provide moral support, camaraderie and all I have to spare. Just get people here for their safety.”
“Sadly I could not house refugees, however I could help with food, transport and I could also offer help when it comes to introducing them to the customs of this country and I could give a hand as a friend.”
“We are ready, we can offer clothing, food, companionship and even homes. Let’ stand together and show everyone that we have an offer.”
This is only a very small amount of all the messages that were posted. What was also quite remarkable is that not only Icelanders would speak up, people from all over the world are showing their respect and are even thinking of taking this idea into their own country. So that more refugees could be helped, and not only in Iceland.
Talk about the power of social media. Of course we should not get ahead of ourselves, the positive protest of these Icelanders is heart-warming indeed. But they will have to wait until the prime minister agrees with the plan. After hearing about the project, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, prime minister of Iceland, decided to appoint a committee of ministers to discuss whether they can welcome more refugees into their country. You go, Iceland!