Argentine Students Rebel ?

29 Jan

In an unusual twist to the current war of words taking place, not only between Argentina and Britain, but in much of the left-wing press, the Guardian newspaper yesterday questioned the committment of the new generation of Argentines to the cause of the Malvinera, as some extremists call themselves.

The article argues that, while politically incorrect to fall away from the Government’s line, many students are starting to review their country’s version of history, and debating whether the Falkland Islanders do, or not, have a fundamental right to determine their own future. When asked about the archipelago which Argentina has claimed since the 1930’s, students answered; “Sometimes, I’m afraid of saying it, I’m afraid of how people will react, but why are they Argentinian? And why, for that matter, should they be British? Don’t they have the right to self-determination?” “… I couldn’t understand why at school they taught us that the people over there are Argentinians.” “My grandfather came back feeling like he’d been to Britain; it wasn’t like Argentina at all.”

Following indoctrination over the last 80 years which has fermented a rather different attitude to the rights of the Islanders, such thoughts can be seen as treasonous by some groups in Argentina. The Malvineras or Malvinistas are passionate supporters of their Government’s attempts to lay claim to the Islands that sit some 300 miles off their coasts. A cut down version of history mixed with fervent nationalism has produced a large population unable to determine fact from fiction, and unwilling to even try. Oft used as a smokescreen by successive Governments when times grew hard, the Falklands is one of the few issues that can really unite the majority of Argentines.

Opposition to these nationalist views is subject to ridicule by their countrymen, but it is still something that a thinking minority is starting to accept that the Falkland Islanders have rights.

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