Friday, February 03, 2012

The Falkland Islands

History is a subject I love but there are times when we have to look at a situation and say that history is largely irrelevant. The Falkland Islands fall into that category. Yes, posession has changed hands at times in the last few centuries, but there is now a clear Falklands culture and population. It is up to the population of the Falklands to decide their future, not the United Kingdom and most definitely not Argentina.

We visited Argentina in 1991 and had a fantastic time. The people are generous and hospitable and the country is beautiful.

Despite reports before we travelled into Argentina, a wonderful train journey from La Paz in Bolivia, we experienced absolutely no anti-English sentiment and we travelled extensively for about three weeks.

At the border there were signs declaring 'Las Malvinas' to be Argentinian, as there were on the side of some buildings in the docks of Buenos Aires, but that was it. We even met an ex-soldier who had been captured in the Falklands. He still couldn't understand why his government had invaded and had nothing but admiration for our armed forces.

Seeing the so-called demonstrators on the streets of Buenos Aires I couldn't help thinking that they looked like a small group of misfits playing to the camera, probably at the behest of the media desperate to ramp up interest in the story. Indeed a friend who has a son currently working in Buenos Aires supported my view.

By and large the population seem to be more interested in finding out the true evils of recent Argentine dictators than marching into Port Stanley again. I'm sure the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo would rather find out what happened to their loved ones under Argentine military dictators than see more young Argentinians sent to their deaths over a group of islands over 300 miles away.

As ever these bouts of love for the Falklands shown by the Argentine government have more to do with government greed than democracy. The easy answer to any disputes such as this, or the current situation in Scotland, is to let the people decide, not governments through power crazed politicians. It's quite simple really.

No comments: