|Photo: Stefan Jonasson||Author: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Former President of Iceland
The former President of Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, was the featured speaker at the annual Samkoma of the Icelandic Hekla Club, which was held in conjunction with the annual convention of the Icelandic National League of North America at Bloomington, Minnesota on May 16, 2015. This is Madame Vigdís’s address from that occasion.
Distinguished guests, ambassadors, consuls – honorary and general – dear friends … and especially my Hekla sisters,
A Moveable Feast was the name the great writer Ernest Hemingway gave to his book about his travels on the other side of the wide, wet Atlantic Ocean. The title was translated into Icelandic as Veisla í farangrinum. “A Feast in the Luggage” occurs to me as an English translation of the Icelandic translation. But I’m sure an English translator would find a better English translation of the Icelandic translation of the title.
That is what is first and foremost in my mind, here in the Twin cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) at the convention of the Icelandic National League of North America – a veritable feast for mind and memory, with so many lucid presentations, remembering the past and illuminating the present.
Thank you very much for offering me the opportunity to be here, to listen and to learn: to listen to observations about the present time and – what I like best – memories from past times. There is hardly a family in Iceland who are not aware of the emigration from our country to the New World in the last decades of the 19th century, during times of hardship and volcanic eruptions – ironically enough at a time when the Icelanders, as a nation, were beginning to see signs of independence on the horizon. And in fact that was little consolation: freedom in itself cannot, unfortunately, nourish people physically, nor provide warmth and shelter in hard times.