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Argentina: 29 Years Later, Argentinians Remember Heroes of Falklands War

April 2 is commemorated, once again, as the landing of Argentine troops in the Falkland Islands 29 years ago, which marked the start of a war that lasted 74 days between Argentina and the United Kingdom.

During the act led by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez [es] in the city of Rio Gallegos, a blog entitled La verdadera intención [es] (The Real Intention) transcribed the President's speech, in which it is worth highlighting the following paragraph:

Siempre, las Malvinas son argentinas y no cejaremos en nuestro reclamo y convocar a todos los argentinos a la buena memoria, a la memoria de los que dieron sus vidas, a la memoria de los que luego no pudieron superar los traumas de la posguerra y perdieron también la vida. Esta vez, tal vez, de manera más terrible y más trágica: de mano propia, no de manos del enemigo en combate.

The Falklands have always belonged to Argentina and we will not let up in our demands and our call to all Argentinean to the good memory, to the memory of those who gave their lives, to the memory of those who later could not overcome the postwar trauma and also lost their lives. This time, perhaps, in the most terrible and tragic way: at their own hands, not at the hands of the enemy in combat.
Las Malvinas son argentinas

Image by Doug Letterman (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

After 29 years, the wounds are still open, especially for the surviving soldiers and the family members of the fallen throughout the war, to whom homage is paid during these days, as Carlos comments in his blog Mirada Mágica [es]:

No basta con poner un día de feriado nacional y festejarlo, llenarse la boca en discursos alusivos y todas esas tonterías inútiles que no sirven más que para figurar.

Lo que estos veteranos de guerra necesitan son respuestas tangibles a sus problemas y necesidades. Aunque cueste creerlo esos mismos que arriesgaron sus vidas en una lucha inútil y desigual no paran de mendigar una respuesta a sus justos reclamos y derechos.

It's not enough to announce a national holiday and celebrate it, filling your mouth with a few speeches and all of these useless, nonsensical things that don't serve any purpose other than to show off.

What these war veterans need is tangible answers to their problems and necessities. Although it may cost us to believe this, these very people who risked their lives in a pointless and unequal fight do not stop begging for an answer to their just claims and rights.

In the blog Arte y Brujeria [es], Laura, in addition to writing an account of the history of the Falkland Islands, analyzes the political and economic aspects of the war:

¿Por qué reclamar en aquél momento soberanía sobre unas islas que pertenecieron a nuestro territorio por 13 años solamente? Porque el modelo neoliberal implementado desde el golpe de Estado de 1976 (modelo que continuó hasta el 2001) había desgastado económica y políticamente al gobierno de la junta. Fue un “manotazo de ahogado” para salvarse y continuar en la presidencia.

Why should we now demand sovereignty over some islands that were a part of our territory for only 13 years? Because the neoliberal model, implemented from the time of the coup d'état in 1976 (a model that remained in place until 2001), had economically and politically eroded the junta government. It was a “drowned slap” to save itself and continue on in the presidency.

In her blog, Gianna [es] also remembers the flaws of the war and the Argentine heroes with the following words:

La Guerra de Malvinas es una historia plagada de desventuras personales, errores políticos, ignorancia diplomática e improvisación militar.

Sin embargo, la sumatoria de errores y horrores no logran empañar la entrega, abnegación y valor de quienes entregaron con sacrificio sus vidas defendiendo la soberanía territorial argentina. Un reconocimiento al honor, que perdura por sobre las circunstancias y la temporalidad del hecho histórico.

The Falklands War is a history plagued with personal misfortune, political errors, diplomatic ignorance and military improvisation.

Nonetheless, the sum of the flaws and horrors will never tarnish the delivery, selflessness and merit of those who sacrificed their lives defending Argentina's territorial sovereignty. A recognition of the honor that endures all of the circumstances and temporality of this historic event.

Newspaper cut outs from 1982 – photo: Laura Schneider

Regaining these islands or not is something that is always on the minds of the Argentinians. The social network Facebook turns out to be a medium for the demands of some, but not others, as Mariano Sosa, in the group called, “England, give the Falklands back.  They're Argentina's” [es], says:

no sean ilusos! se piensan q nos van a devolver las malvinas por un grupo q se hace en el face.. no sean ilusos, por favor..

Don't be naïve! You think that they're going to give us back the Falklands through a Facebook group.. don't be naïve, please..

5 comments

  • J. A. Roberts

    It would be nice to see just a little something from the Falkland Islanders’ perspective, for balance.

    What about the Falkland Islanders’ right to live a peaceful life in their homeland – as they have done for 7, 8 and even 9 generations.

  • Steven

    J.A. Roberts – I was 10 in 1982, growing up in the UK. I agree that Britain had every right to defend itself and, more importantly, the right of people who had been British for generations to stay British.

    I also think that ‘balance’ is what this forum is all about, and it’s good to see the other side.

    That being said – Argentina is right to remember those who died in this pointless war, which was launched to save a failing military regime (and the vanity of a military dictator) by stirring up patriotic fervour. The Argentine dead were largely conscripts, not much more than boys, unlike the British armed forces, who were professionals and had a better idea what they were getting into.

    Lions led by donkeys, indeed.

  • Stephen

    Argentinean forces died well and died honourably except the ones who cried out for their mothers, wife’s and children. And that was all of them bar the ones who died instantly. So tell me again about the honour in war? Bollocks. War is futile and all about oil. Except for : American mercenaries.
    American mercenary forces died easily, after they ambushed 3 Para. 3 Para served them with the same level professionalism they gave to them, when they offered their surrender, then killed members of 3 Para.

    America removed all assistance from the UK, only the Russian gave British forces assistance.

    But when you join the Army you know the score.
    Conscripts should never be sent into battle.
    The conscripts died too easily, as they were untrained, unprepared and just wanted to go home. And there was nothing wrong with that.
    Bless the dead of both side.

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