Wednesday, January 25, 2006


British warship anchors in Malvinas

Islas MalvinasI read with interest how a British warship anchoring in Argentina for the first time since the two countries went to war over the Islas Malvinas, aka the Falkland Islands, 23 years ago, met with a chilly reception in its homage to those who died in the conflict.

The captain of the icebreaker HMS Endurance, Nick Lambert, and interim Tierra del Fuego Governor Carlos Saladino presided over today’s memorial ceremony in Ushuaia, 2,150 miles south of the capital, Buenos Aires.

Captain Lambert called the visit "historic" and said he hoped it would mark the start of "a very good relationship between Argentines and Britons", according to Argentine news media.

But some residents, still bitter over the war, raised a poster reading: "Killer pirates: English out of here!"

The British ship anchored yesterday, making what was described as a technical stop on a scientific research expedition to Antarctica.

Relations between Britain and Argentina have been haunted by the 1982 war that began when Argentina’s military government of the time captured the islands, known in Argentina as the Islas Malvinas.

Jose Martinez Aranibar, who heads the Argentine veterans association for the Rio Grande area, complained that Britain has blocked efforts by his comrades to return to the islands to visit the graves of war dead there.

"I would like it if the recognition of the dead was in the Malvinas, but because of various manoeuvres carried out by Great Britain, we cannot visit our dead in the islands," he said.

Authorities in the Falklands have refused to allow the Argentine flag to fly there.

So the veterans said they did not want to see British warships in Argentina.

"Next year, we’re ready to oppose this and the ship probably won’t be able to enter our waters", said the veterans association chief for Usuaia, Juan Carlos Parodi.

I think it's a damn shame that the British have been so hostile towards the Argentinian veterans.

The 'Falklands War' was a terrible business altogether and it wasn't really all that surprising when war broke out. The British tend to be quite protective of their former colonies as we here in Ireland know all too well.

As we all know the British response to the Argentinian occupation of the Malvinas was one of outrage. You see when the British do that kind of thing it's called expanding the glorious Empire and is praised in history books, whereas when the backlash comes as a result of this kind of expansion, it is loudly condemned.

That's not hypocrisy - it's just history.

When her atlas revealed where the islands were, Thatcher was outraged
I shall protect my Empire!

I feel bad for the Argentians over this issue. The Malvinas/Falkland Islands are yet another example of the terrible legacy that the British Empire has left to the world. They have brought misery, pain and suffering upon many nations, not just Ireland.

Hopefully one day a peaceful solution will emerge for the disputed Malvinas.

The Argentinians deserve that.


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