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.