It is fast approaching 30 years since the last Falklands conflict. 907 people died during the fierce conflict, and since then, an uneasy truce has existed between Britain and Argentina. Thankfully, the only battles that have transpired in the interim have involved 22 men, a ball and unhealthy amounts of nationalistic vitriol.
Worryingly though, the tensions surrounding the issue of sovereignty of Las Malvinas/the Falkland Islands have been rising again. The posting of Prince William to the region has led Argentina to claim that Britain is militarising the region. How a horsey posh boy signals that I’m unsure. Argentina has responded by imposing restrictions on shipping in the area, with Argentine unions boycotting the ships of “British pirates”. The 2,500 islanders are becoming increasingly isolated, and the leaders of the respective nations increasingly agitated.
Meanwhile, as if the situation wasn’t ridiculous enough, Sean Penn has got involved. Yes, that Hollywood guy who has absolutely no perspective on the situation or historical context whatsoever. “I think that the world today is not going to tolerate any kind of ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology,” said the
democratically elected leader rat faced twat, speaking after a meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Seriously, Sean – you’ve made some good films (The Assassination Of Richard Nixon being my personal favourite) but go play in traffic.
The Argentinian FA is going to get a talking to, after proposing to rename their domestic football league to the Crucero General Belgrano First Division. The Belgrano was an Argentine cruiser that was sunk in the conflict with the loss of 323 lives. Is it really necessary to cheapen that sacrifice by attaching the name of the ship to a sports league, like a sponsor?
Now, I should admit some bias – my Dad has been to the Falklands twice and was in the British Forces. Even for me, it is easy to see the Argentine point of view. The Islands are some 8,000 miles from the UK, and 289 from Argentina. Our interest is historic, but also fuelled by the potential oil fields located in the waters around them.
It is the islanders who suffer. Not having enough eggs for example. This would hurt them, not that they are reliant on eggs for their diet. They are a tough cohort who pride themselves on how many generations of their family have lived on the Islands. In this clip on Newsnight, the one thing that is apparent, aside from Paxman’s ability to make everyone look foolish, is the intense spirit of independence that embellishes Assembly Member Dick Sawle’s perspective. The Islands are rocky, barren, and generally inhospitable, but their occupants work hard to ensure their survival. It is not by chance that the flag of the Falklands carries the motto ‘desire the right’. It is also telling that the local describes Argentina’s actions in 1982 as an invasion.
In all honesty, I feel that both Britain and Argentina’s claims to the Islands are valid. Therefore, the islanders right of self-determination comes to the fore. Until the day that they decide to be Argentine, they shall be British. Not a Prince, a football league nor Sean fucking Penn can do anything about that.
In other news
LCD Soundsystem – got there late, love them:
Where are your friends tonight?