Monday, April 2, 2007

Malvinas argentinas I

Maybe it's been a while since you thought about the Falkland Islands.

I think about them every day. This country won't let me forget.

Two blocks from me is an ice cream shop named after the Falklands (Malvinas in Spanish). When I take a bus, I'm likely to see signs declaring the islands belong to Argentina. When I had some bookshelves made at the carpenter* down the street, the receipt I got had "The Falklands are Argentine!" stamped on the top of it. At least one soccer stadium and town bear the name Malvinas argentinas.

You may have some hazy, Thatcher-tinged memory of the Falkland Islands War. Here "Malvinas argentinas" is not a distant memory, it's very much a present-day rallying cry — or propaganda campaign, depending on how you look at it.

Today is a national holiday. Twenty-five years ago, the military junta in Argentina ordered the invasion of the Falkland Islands, a British dependency. When it was all over, 258 died on the British side. On the Argentine side, 649 died.

*Yes, I live in a medieval village. I have a cobbler two doors down, a carpenter around the corner and two tailors in a two-block radius. All that's missing is the hooper.

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