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A Veteran of the Malvinas War Shares His Healing Journey to the Past

A monument to those fallen in the Malvinas War located in the city of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina. Photo by David Bolt, published to his Flickr account under a Creative Commons License.

Miguel Savage is an Argentinian veteran of the Malvinas War — the ten-week-long conflict between Great Britain and Argentina over ownership of the archipelago off Argentina's coast, known in Argentina as the Malvinas Islands, and in Britain as the Falkland Islands. In 2000, after nearly twenty years of silence, Savage decided to return to the islands to confront the ghosts of his past and heal his wounds.

Also known as the South Atlantic War, the 1982 conflict resulted in nearly 1,000 casualties, mostly on the Argentinian side.

In his book, Malvinas, viaje al pasado (Malvinas, Journey to the Past), published in 2011, Savage detailed his painful experience, grimly describing the “absurd war.” Barely 19 years old, Savage and his fellow Argentinians faced three major enemies: the cold, the British, and their own leaders.

His memoir also includes a moving story about meeting and befriending a British veteran, which Savage says expanded his perspective on the conflict.

In this interview with Cadena 3 (a radio station based out of Córdoba, Argentina), Savage told the incredible “story of the blue sweater” he found on an island farmhouse. He says it saved his life.

In 2006, Savage was finally able to make another visit to the islands to return the sweater to Sharon, the daughter of its original owner.

El pulóver era de su papá quien había fallecido a causa del estrés luego de la guerra. Tomé unos mates con ella, lloramos juntos.

The sweater had belonged to her father, who passed away after suffering PTSD after the war. We had a couple mates and cried together.

Below, you can watch the talk Savage gave at the TEDx Río de la Plata conference in January of 2013 (subtitles in English):

Creo que hay tres formas de enfrentar situaciones de gran sufrimiento: tapar todo, victimizarse o abrazar la herida y transformarla en algo positivo. Es por eso que narro con alegría mi historia de vida, compartiendo los aprendizajes y la resiliencia.

Lo dedico con emoción a la memoria de los que murieron en el 82, y los que luego se quitaron la vida. Argentinos y británicos.

I believe there are three ways to cope with situations of great suffering: by blocking everything out, by playing the victim or by embracing the pain and turning it into something positive. This is why I gladly tell my story, sharing the resilience and the things I have learned.

With all my heart, I dedicate this to the memory of those who died in '82, and those who took their own lives, Argentinians and British.

6 comments

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  • Guile G

    No veo por qué traducen el nombre de las Islas Malvinas a Falklands, como si fuese una cuestión de idioma y no de soberanía.

    • Laura

      Gracias por tu comentario. Hemos hecho el cambio para que el post sea más fiel al original. Como bien lo señalas, esta historia refleja un episodio complejo de la historia de Argentina que no está aún terminado.

      • Guile G

        Buenísimo Laura! Muy buena nota, y desde ya agregar base de conocimiento en inglés desde Argentina sobre este tema es magnífico.

  • Nevin Thompson

    Great post. I’ve tried to read as much as I can about the war, but there is not much out there in English.

  • britbob

    Sad fact, no mythical Malvinas claim, no Falklands war. The Argentinian government was able to dupe its population and a great portion of the world into believing that it has a genuine Falklands sovereignty claim. Google: “Falklands – Some Relevant International Law” to see why Argentina has never legally owned the islands.

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