Saturday, April 03, 2010

Las Malvinas



Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate at university in the UK, I dated an Argentinian for a short time. I remember him asking me about the Malvinas, which at the time I knew nothing about. He commented that was about what he expected. The Malvinas are also known as the Falkland Islands - and the British went to war in 1982, about a year after I had that conversation with Jorge, to keep the islands British rather than Argentinean. I was living in France at the time the war started, studying at a university there.

It's hard to believe nowadays, but there was just a single incoming phone in the hall of residence where I lived! I had given my parents the phone number in case of an emergency, but never expected to hear from them. So I was amazed one day when someone knocked on my door and told me I had a phone call. It was my mother calling to let me know that a friend of mine in the British Navy, someone I'd known since I was eleven years old, my first ever boyfriend, had been killed on his ship, the HMS Coventry, in the Falklands.



In those pre-internet days, and living in a place that had no TV, I hadn't really been keeping up with the news, so although I obviously knew the war was happening, I didn't really know that much about it. It was short as wars go, lasting only 74 days. I knew that sovereignty was the issue, but was gobsmacked to read this report on the BBC website today that reveals how incredibly easily the war could have been avoided. I have no doubt that many other conflicts over the centuries could have been avoided, but were entered into because they were seen as being politically advantageous.

My response to Jorge back in 1981 about the Malvinas , was that it seemed to me that it would make more sense in many ways for the islands to be allied with Argentina - BUT the islanders would have to see an advantage in becoming Argentinian. At the time, Argentina's human rights record was appalling, and had I been a Falkland Islander at the time, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have anything to do with Argentina! If governments are correct in their belief that their system is wonderful, then surely their mere example will encourage others to join them. Unfortunately, all it takes is a single powerful person to pervert the course of democracy and all is ruined. Some claim that the Falklands War was a war that neither government wanted, but both the dictator Galtieri in Argentina and Maggie Thatcher in the UK certainly gained from it.

I like to think that if Ian had not died in the Falklands we would still be in touch, probably on Facebook by now, but sadly he's long gone. Rest in peace Ian.

8 comments:

Expat mum said...

RIP indeed. Sorry for your loss.
I also remember watching the Falklands War (at uni) thinking "Never heard of them". It seemed to herald a new age, of war.

Ayak said...

I remember the Falklands War clearly. It was the year my daughter was born. My best friend's brother was in the Scots Guards, and was out fighting in this particular war. He lost many good friends in the fighting..returned home..had a complete mental breakdown and has never been the same since. Just one sad story to come out of another pointless war.

Star said...

Oh yes, I remember the war very well. I watched it every day on TV and followed the progress. I particularly remember Brian Hanrahan, the news reporter, counting them in and out. In other words which were out on manoeuvres and when they came back safely. I remember being very proud of Mrs. Thatcher and how she handled the sending out of the task force showing such care for such a tiny part of our possessions. The whole thing, as it panned out, was very sad really. I did feel sorry for the young Argentinian soldiers too as they were stripped of their pride. All wars are bad and sad but perhaps some are necessary. You have to look at the bigger picture. I'm so sorry you lost your friend, but you will never forget him. He will live in your memory forever.
Blessings, Star

Mary said...

I remember this war, but it's very interesting to read about it from the perspective of someone who was personally affected. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Iota said...

How sad. Such a young life lost.

MadEnglishWoman40 said...

So sorry to hear about your friend. That must have been really tough to hear.x

Daffodilly said...

Thanks for your ideas...

If I Could Escape . . . said...

Awww, how sad. I remember that war. So sorry for you friend's loss.

PS I've tagged you over on my blog.

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