Respect the Wishes of the Falkland Islanders

By: Daniel Nardini

Last week, the people of the Falkland Islands voted by 99.8 percent to remain part of Great Britain and remain British citizens. Since almost all of the inhabitants are of British extraction this comes as no shock. The vote comes as no shock, and the British government has made it clear that it will protect the right of the Falkland Islanders to their self-determination. I have to ask the Argentine government what part of this they do not understand? Of course, the Argentine government dredges up the argument that the Falkland Islands were “stolen” by the British in 1833, and that the islands should belong to Argentina. Perhaps they were stolen, but we are talking about almost 200 years ago!

Most of the Falkland Islanders have been on the islands for nine generations—it is not like they came five or ten years ago and started raping the land. The people of the Falkland Islands have been there, minding their own business and causing no problem for Argentina or any of their South American neighbors. The only problem there was occurred over 30 years ago when the Argentine military government invaded the islands. The British government sent a naval expedition and liberated the people from forced Argentine rule. We must keep in mind one other important thing—although the United States tried to keep good relations with Argentina and other countries in South America, it eventually sided with Great Britain. The U.S. sided with Great Britain because Great Britain is America’s military ally. But it sided with Great Britain because the Falkland Island people simply did not want to be ruled by Argentina.

They still do not want to be ruled by Argentina. The Falkland Islanders would have no problems with trade and cultural links with Argentina. Likewise they would like to have air and sea links with Argentina. However, the conditions the Argentine government attaches are simply unacceptable. The Argentine government wants the Falkland Islanders to either accept Argentine rule or “evacuate” the islands. After being there for 180 years, where have the present inhabitants of these islands to go? After the vote was cast, representatives of the Falkland Islands went to the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress to register their will to remain a part of Great Britain and be British. Has it not occurred to the Argentine government that any military force used against the Falkland Islands will be met with military force not only from Great Britain but also from the United States? Why must the Argentine government deny reality? As far as I am concerned, the Argentine government would better use it energies to try and deal with the economic and social problems Argentina is having at present.

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