Describing himself as an ‘artist and a cultural activist’, ODEE, Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson, has releaved himself as the person behind the spoof Samherji ‘apology’ that appeared a few days ago on a UK-domained website.
Stepping forward as the person behind a larger interactive concept and performance artwork that includes the website and a 10-metre ‘We’re Sorry’ mural at the Reykjavík Art Museum that constitute his final project for my BA in Fine Arts, ODEE had some hard words for Samherji.
‘As an artist and an Icelander, I extend an apology to Namibia on behalf of the entire Icelandic nation. We stand together in our condemnation of the exploitation that has unfolded. This shameful episode has left an ugly stain on our national history, tantamount to the imperialistic policy of a private entity against a sovereign nation. The anger and shame resonate across our entire nation,’ he stated.
‘I call for a purge of the tax havens and the return of stolen money to Namibia. It is time to hand over the keys to Samherji, along with all other assets and properties in Namibia acquired unjustly by Samherji.’
Samherji managing director Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson wrote to the company’s staff, stating that misrepresentation of this nature will not be tolerated.
‘Our position has nothing to do with art or freedom of expression, but reflects our clear right to protect the company’s branding,’ he stated in the letter that was also made public on the company’s web page, commenting that the spoof web page uses the Samherji logo.
‘Samherji will demand that the relevant web page should be closed and this misrepresentation will not be allowed to take place.’
According to Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson, Namibia deserves an apology from Iceland, and he is unequivocal in his opinion of Samherji and its activities in Namibia, which are the subject of extended legal proceedings in Namibia.
‘The leaders of Samherji and other involved Icelanders should face prosecution and imprisonment. Instead, they continue to revel in the spoils,’ he said.
‘Icelanders must never forget this dark chapter, and justice must be served. Despite this atrocity being committed by a small group of morally bankrupt individuals, the entire Icelandic nation unequivocally stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Namibia. Namibia deserves our unwavering support and sincere apologies until justice is rightfully served.’