Roar!, March 6th - March 25th, 2012
Comment Sub-Editor Ben Jackson
Should we give the Falkland Islands back?
They have a natural claim over the Islands
In my opinion, yes, they should. The Falkland Islands belong to Argentina and to South America. They have a very obvious natural claim over the islands as they are part of South America and are clearly part of Argentina; just look at the geography. But no, the islands remain a bastion of crumbling British imperialism. It just seems Britain is holding onto these islands to be able to increase its own confidence and arrogance. We must first look at Argentina’s perspective. The islands were claimed by the French in 1744 and then sold to the Spanish in 1756. The British, however, also claimed them in 1755. The islands were then abandoned in 1773. In 1829, a Spanish Argentine settlement was established in West Falkland and four years later this was followed by a British settlement in East Falkland. In my eyes this makes it clear that Argentina does have a very real claim on the islands. They were claimed by Britain, were subsequently abandoned and then independent Argentina built a settlement on the islands. That claim must be respected! The problem is that when Argentina invaded the islands it was at the orders of a totalitarian and despotical military dictatorship that hijacked the legitimate claims of the Argentine people to try and hold onto power. Nowadays, Argentina is a democratic nation and so this must be taken into account. The topic
YES is still very close to the hearts of many Argentines and it is seen as a unifying topic for the nation, which is struggling to establish itself in the region. I don’t understand why more blood has to be shed for these isolated and very remote islands. It just seems stupid for people to lose their lives over what is essentially an ego trip. I would propose a solution that would benefit both sides, reconcile the British and the Argentines. Most people see it as either British or as Argentine and nothing in between, but wasn’t Hong Kong exactly in the same position? Hong Kong was a British territory but it was obviously part of China. So, a deal was struck whereby Hong Kong would become Chinese sovereign territory but would keep its own democratic and economic freedom. Surely this is the best solution to ease tensions and to begin the road to friendship and co-operation? The Argentines get what they want - the Falklands - and the British get what they want - the protection of the Falkland Islanders’ culture and British way of life. If we can make a deal with Communist China it seems stupid that we can’t negotiate with Argentina. Everyone wins. It’s funny what happens when you stop sabre rattling.
NO You might think it’s a pointless pursuit to argue about keeping the Falkland Islands British if you just think about how far away the islands are from the UK. But consider one thing: the people living on the island want to remain British! As Cameron said in Stockholm in early February, “The people of the Islands want to stay British and the UK will defend the territory properly to make sure they do so”. Quite right. Imagine the following scenario. You’re living on an island where your parents were brought up and a nation wants to invade your island as it thinks it has a claim to it. What an outrageous thing for a country to do in this century. It doesn’t matter how the people got there originally. The fact is, they’re there now and they want to live peaceful lives under British rule. Surely Argentina should respect that desire. It seems to me like a purely political ploy, all this Falklands nonsense. A way of distracting the Argentines from affairs back home. A way of drumming up national pride. Well, I’ll tell you this, it’s dangerous, and the UK has already shown what it’s capable of. We do not want a repeat of the Falklands War. What is the Argentine government expecting, seriously? The British Army, under Thatcher, defeated them and thus the conflict was over. Pursuing this conflict as if it’s a legitimate aspect of one’s manifesto seems
Stephen Birch like a terribly churlish thing to do. I’ll spell it out for you. Bringing the Falkland Islands issue up again is a dangerous and risky idea. No one wants to lose any more lives over these islands. We shouldn’t give the Falklands back because of the sacrifices made by the 253 airmen, soldiers and sailors who lost their lives fighting for British sovereignty there. To simply give the islands back would be a huge disrespect to the men who gave their lives in the service of the Crown. There was a war and the consequences of that war were that the Falkland Islands were to remain British. It’s not like we attacked civilians or are subsequently running a dictatorship on the islands. The islands are rightfully ours and anyone who argues otherwise is showing their ignorance of international politics and the way war works. And now some actor has taken it upon himself to grace the rest of us with his righteous opinions on the matter, calling Britain colonial and archaic. To Sean Penn, I say it’s up to the islanders, not the actors, to decide their future. The United Nations is all about supporting people’s right to selfdetermination. Rather than having another war, or giving the islands freely back to Argentina, I say let the islanders determine their own future. The islanders want to remain British. What more is there to say?
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The people want to remain British
To whom do the Falkland Islands rightfully belong? This is quite a heavy subject, so I suggest you put down your tea and croissant and give this monthÕs Burning Issue your full attention. A while back, Argentine PM Cristina Fern‡ndez decided sheÕd mouth off about how the British have no right to own these islands. She seemed to forget that the matter was settled some time ago. Since her scathing comments, the UK has stepped up the military presence there. And now some unknown Hollywood actor has decided he should have his say. In an attack on Britain, Sean Penn has called us colonial. However, there are people living on these islands (albeit strategically placed there by the government) - ItÕs like Occupy the London Stock Exchange all over again! In the midst of all these politicians and celebrities having their say, has anyone asked the inhabitants of the islands what they want? I expect the reply would be a glorious, reverberating ÒRule Britannia!Ó This monthÕs Burning Issue asks, should we give the Falklands back to the Argies or carry on in the spirit of Thatcher and tell them to back off?