Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Britain marks retaining Las Malvinas

I've listened intently over the last few days to views expressed on the conflict which occurred in Las Malvinas exactly 25 years ago.

The Malvinas War (sometimes called the Falklands War) took place when the Argentinian dictatorship sought to reclaim what was, unquestionably, Argentinian land in an effort to divert attention away from the country's poor domestic record.

This gave Margaret Thatcher the chance to divert attention away from her own country's poor domestic record, and, flying the flag of political opportunism liberty, she was able to salvage her position in power when 'Britannia' emerged victorious after pulverising the smaller, weaker nation into insensibility.

I think every red-blooded Irishman can sympathise with the plight of the poor Argentinian people. Not having ownership of land which is undoubtedly theirs is something we here in Ireland can certainly relate to. A child can figure out that the Malvinas are the rightful property of the Argentinians and not some country half-way round the bloody globe.

It was somewhat encouraging earlier this week to hear British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett express "continuing regret" over the deaths on both sides in 1982, but then Mr Blair came out with some dubious claims to say the least on the conflict. Blair said Thatcher's decision to go to war took "political courage" and was "the right thing to do". I wouldn't say that at all, Tone.

I have the utmost sympathy with the Argentinian people on this complex matter. While much is spoken of the terrible actions of the military junta (rightfully so), no one seems to being up the conflict quite a bit before that - the British invasion of the islands in 1833 - when their greed drove them to seize the land for themselves. Nah, can't bring that up. Wouldn't want to complicate the simplistic representation of history where brave Britannia brings peace and happiness to those filthy savages elsewhere.

Most British people didn't even know where the Malvinas were located prior to the 1982 conflict, some probably still don't, and yet people had to lay down their lives so Britain's colonial record could be maintained. I feel sorry for the British and Argentinian personnel who had to die needlessly in the war. Don't just blame the Argentinian dictatorship for the fighting, blame Britain's colonial legacy which is steeped in the blood of a plethora of nations. Blame their refusal to negotiate a peaceful solution to the problem.

It's pretty revolting that the British see fit to cling tightly to these islands off the coast of Argentina and claim they are doing so as a matter of principle. Oh how noble!

This is British territory?

This seems to be standard British policy when it comes to colonies. Invade land, kill or drive out the occupants, fill it up with settlers and then block any attempts for the land to be reclaimed by the original owners by arguing that it's not what the locals want! Pure Machiavellian genius, don't you think?

Listening to Blair prattle on about the virtue of the whole stinking mess I had a right good chuckle at this particular piece from the British PM:

"I think there was a principle at stake which is that... a land shouldn't be annexed in that way and people shouldn't be put under a different rule in that way."

Wow. Hilarious on so many levels.

If one looks around the globe one sees the legacy of Britain's colonial history and the misery which has resulted from Britain annexing land in disgraceful fashion and putting people under a different rule. Ireland, Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan, Iraq, much of Africa, Gibraltar, to name but a few places. And yet they have the audacity to lecture Argentinians on their relationship with the islands? You couldn't make it up.

No one seems to want to listen to the Argentinian perspective which is a damn shame. Malvinas veteran Edgardo Esteban wrote about his experiences in a book 'Illuminated by Fire' which has been made into a film, shown in Argentina and Britain, and he gave his thoughts on the islands:

"When you talk about Argentina you talk about Eva Peron, Gardel, Maradona and tango.

"For us the Malvinas is part of that identity, it is a symbol, we learn about it at school from a very young age.

"There is no town, no matter how small, that hasn't got a monument, a street, a square or a school called Islas Malvinas, or Malvinas Argentinas."

And you can find a comment left here on United Irelander a few days ago by an Argentinian girl called Celeste offering another side of the story which is worth reading too. In her own words:

"The Malvinas are Argentinian, not only because it is officially known but also because of the geographical characteristics (as I studied them at school). I hope British once for all recognise our claim."

I also hope they recognise the claim and that they give the Argentinians a say in the running of the islands.

The Argentinians have been through enough and they deserve to finally have some happiness. The British should enter into talks with Argentina in an effort to solve the problem once and for all.

God only knows why a country would want to cling on to territory when it doesn't regard it as being part of its nation.

25 years on and that position is still a disgrace, whatever way you look at it.


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