fimmtudagur, október 12, 2006


Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in the Land yesterday afternoon. He's here to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the US-USSR summit that took place between him and Ronald Reagan here in October 1986 at the cozy Höfði house near downtown Reykjavík.

Back in those days, I was a kid starting seventh grade, and that summit was the first time I had really heard of Reykjavík. (I learned about Iceland and where it was in second grade.) I remember the graphic on the front page of the Lowell Sun, showing the location of Iceland and Reykjavík. I remember trying to get my tongue around the strange word that's now in my address. I remember being fascinated by the whole concept of a summit, of two leaders of great powers sitting down in the same room and talking together.

In this time of global tumult, it's somehow reassuring to see Gorbachev in the news again. He's a reminder to me of a time when things seemed to be moving in the right direction. Velkominn aftur til landsins, Hr. Gorbatsjov!


Blogger jdk said...

it's also a reminder of that there once was a time when we were all going to blow each other to smitherines and yet we managed somehow to come through all that relatively ok. so have some hope fellas!

Blogger cK said...

Interesting. I recall the summit in Iceland too. I must have been in the first semester of seventh grade too (as my school level always finished in the May of a year ending with the same number; in this case, 7th ending in 1987--my system of keeping the past in order).

It was perhaps the first time I'd heard of Reykjavik. I do recall being amazed by subsequent pieces about waterboats deployed in the harbor to cool lava flows; stories of geothermal heat; images of the Icelandic landscape.

And it was definitely one of the first time I really became aware of international politics, perhaps because they were talking rather than issuing nationalistic soundbites through various media.

Blogger JB said...

JDK: True. But I do wish there was a little more high-level talking going on these days. There's nothing wrong with talking to your "enemy" as Reagan and Gorby showed us.

CK: You must have also graduated H.S. in 1992, as I use that same mnemonic and have since probably about third grade, when I discovered its magical powers.

The waterboats deployed to cool lava flows actually happened in the Westman Islands after the 1973 eruption there that covered one third of the town in lava and ash.


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