Stephen O’Malley

Hildur Guðnadóttir "Fólk fær andlit/People Get Faces" video clip for EU refugee awareness

Posted: Apr 13, 2016

Hildur Guðnadóttir created this video clip and composition titled "Fólk fær andlit/People Get Faces" to promote her perspective on the current, immense refugee situation affecting all of us in europe. 

Her note to the musical community:

What I am reaching out to you to do, is to share this video with your audience (most likely on your social media), and maybe a part of the text I have written. And encourage them to take some action, however small it might seem, to support Syrian refugees. Or what ever message you might have about the issue.

So far the artists that have taken a stand and shared this plea for action with their audience include; Sigur Rós, Studio Ólafur Elíasson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Ben Frost, múm, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Sóley, Sin Fang, Hauschka, Max Richter and Ólafur Arnalds

I am not collecting money and I am not working for any organisation. I personally do not benefit at all from embarking on this protest. I have never put a video on youtube before, and I don´t think I get any royalties from my music being played there.
One of the things that inspired me to step up and say anything at all was an interview I heard with Melissa Fleming (Head of Communication for the UN Refugee Agency) who said “ We´re in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since WW2. 60 million people have been forced from their homes. The problem about a crisis that big is that it´s incredibly hard to get people involved because we can´t get our head around a number that big.” 
So many of us just do nothing. 
I am one of the people I thought I could do nothing. And then I started thinking about ways to do something, and how to try to get more people to do something. 
My only tools are music and a internet connection. And I thought, if I could only turn it into something tangible, that our individual actions actually matter. Maybe more people would at least do something. It might be naive, but it´s all I got.

So here´s the tangible part of the call for action so far:
Almost 10000 people have now heard my plea for taking a stand and taking action. 
If the action all of them had decided to take was to donate 10$ to the cause of helping refugees (something that most people can afford and could do relatively easily no matter where they are in the world) - 100000 $ would have been raised already, and that could actually make a substantial difference in a lot of people´s lives.

The action could also be to do whatever else, donate food, clothes, sign a petition or volunteer. If we all just did something, we can make a difference. I am sure of that.

I sincerely thank you for joining me in this peaceful protest and call for action.



Hildur also wrote this text below: 

People get Faces

In December 2015 we followed series of events in Iceland that touched most of us. Albanian children with terminal illnesses were deported from Iceland along with their families who had been denied residence permits. 

We’ve been following the terror in Syria for 5 years now. We’ve seen children’s bodies been washed ashore after they’ve tried along with their families to escape tragic horrors of war. We see how thousands of refugees  held in so-called refugee camps in Greece. People who have risked their lives to escape a war are confined to totally inhumane circumstances. It would be closer to the truth to say that they are being held prisoner. 

This situation has been going on for such a long time and so many people suffer that most of us probably experience ourselves as powerless against it. We feel that this is happening so far away from us and surely someone else will come to their rescue.

When it happens in our own garden that terminally ill children are sent away to a place where they will most likely not get the medical assistance that is critical for their survival we can’t restrain ourselves anymore. We strongly object. We stand together and don’t give in until those children have been brought back to safe haven. 

It was distressing to watch the series of events unfold in Iceland last December. How people divided into two separate oppositions, for or against. From the countless accounts and articles I read in relation to those events two particularly struck me. 

The Minister of Interior was quoted saying:

“I have always found this becoming so extremely difficult once these people get faces.”  

I couldn’t stop thinking about what exactly it was that became so difficult. Who “these people” were. Where the border of our compassion lies. When is it that peoples faces become uncomfortable. 

The other thing that touched me was a cartoon made by Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir. There she said (to the sick Albanian child) “sorry, my little friend”. This stayed with me. I wanted so much to say sorry to all “these people” that we find so difficult to put a face on. Sorry that we stand by passively. Sorry that we tried all of you in such a horribly way. 

I am fully aware of that I can’t change the world by myself. But I can make music and ask the listener to consider the border of his or her compassion and take a stand. If you decide to take a stand with humanity without borders I ask you to act accordingly and take measures in support of the thousands of refugees that have been forced to flee their homes. It can take the form of financial support (big or small), petition signatures, food or clothes donations or just by sharing this message so that more people will take action. Whatever. Just don’t do nothing. This war has now been going on for 5 years and a resolution is not in sight. There is so much we can do to help “these people”. They are not that far away.

I recorded this piece of music in last December and by the irony of fate now, about 3 months later, all kinds of different faces are surfacing. The faces of people that have hidden their business affairs in all sorts of havens. One of those faces is the face of The Minister of Interior, the same one who spoke those words that inspired this music.

I want to make it very clear that this piece of music is not intended in any way as a personal criticism towards her, her work nor her financial affairs. I am sure that her intentions are good. It was just her comment that made me think. 

But I can second her when I observe the farcical chaos and complete lack of repentance that has been exposed since the revelation of the Panama Papers and “those people” got faces: I also find “this” extremely difficult. 

That is why I sincerely hope that we can continue to stand together and get to a safe haven free from the governance and the politics of our current government.  

With hope


Links to a few possibilities to take a stand:


Music and recordings: Hildur Guðnadóttir

Mixing: Francesco Donadello

Video: Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir