Opposing Views

14 Feb

Opposite sides, opposite views would seem a normal state of affairs but in the increasingly convoluted world of politics and rhetoric surrounding the Falkland Islands, it is often difficult to know who supports who.

Yesterday the American actor, Sean Penn, added his views of the spat between Argentina and Great Britain by accusing Britain of colonialism, while ignoring his host’s ambitions in the same vein. “The world today is not going to tolerate any ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology,” said Penn, an avid supporter of Hugo Chavez.

Elsewhere, the Argentine writer and journalist, Martín Caparrós, writes, “no Argentine Government ever controlled the Falklands, nor Argentine settlers inhabited them. The closest thing was a commercial patent that General Lavalle, Governor of the province of Buenos Aires, gave in 1829 to a German citizen, Luis María Vernet,” before going on to lambast the ‘Malvinistas’ who accuse the Islanders of being an implanted population whilst ignoring the fact that Argentina’s own population arrived there is a similar way.

In an interview with the Clarin News agency, British left-winger and artefact hunter, Dr. Peter Slowe, recalling his days assisting Minister Ted Rowlands in the mid-1970’s; “The idea was to pass sovereignty to the Argentines.  There was then no speculation on the oil. People then spoke of the krill as a fishing resource. It was the only solution but also the most sensitive. You gave Argentina political sovereignty, divided somehow economic resources and allowed the Islanders to maintain their British lifestyle. Then they would surely change for a South American lifestyle.”

Still hankering for those days when a solution seemed possible, he added, ” I believe that the sovereignty of the Islands should be delivered to Argentines. There must be an agreement for the Islanders on their lifestyle and an agreement on economic resources”. Dr. Slowe avoided any mention of the left’s hope being stabbed in the back by the Argentine invasion of 1982.

In London, the Argentine architect, Patricio Pouchulu, told Politics.co.uk that the real problem was; “our mutual arrogance. The Falklands is neither about oil nor the Antarctic. Certainly, it is not about fishing. It is not even about its inhabitants. The Falklands conflict is about pride. The UK is no longer an Empire. Argentina never was one. However, both countries have imperial capitals and imperial minds, even if Buenos Aires denies it ..”

And amongst all this, the one group whose voice seems to be the least heard, is that of the Falkland Islanders’ themselves. The row goes on, rising in pitch as the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s invasion nears and it must be hoped that their voices do not get forgotten.


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