(I)ndependent People

Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was “civis Romanus sum!”

There are many people in the world who really don’t understand–or say they don’t–what is the greatest issue

Freedom has many difficulties, and democracy is not perfect But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us!

I know of no town, no city, that has been besieged for a few years that still lives with the vitality and the force and the hope and the determination of the city of Reykjavík!

You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Reykjavik and all your country of Iceland, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall, to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.

Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, no man is free. When all are free, then we look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one, and this country and this great continent of Europe, in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of Reykjavik can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.

All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Reykjavik And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Reykjavikinger!”

[ræða við opnun Independent People  19. maí 2012 Listasafn Reykjavíkur]