Remember the Falklands War?
Today’s addition to the planet’s largest repository of blighted mannequins, standing forlornly defiant in a small shop in Buenos Aires, looks like it would rather forget.
Thirty-four weeks ago this past Saturday Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands in an effort to stake their long-standing claim over the isolated south Atlantic island group.
That invasion of the islands, known in Argentina as la Islas Malvinas, set in force a conflict with the United Kingdom that would last 74 days and ultimately hasten the fall of the military dictatorship in the South American country.
In all, the hostilities claimed the lives of 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British and three islands residents. 20,000 land mines were also left behind, with large minefields left uncleared until 2012.
The sovereignty dispute dates back to the early decades of the 19th century. Argentina says that it acquired the islands from Spain upon independence in 1816 which were by that time all but uninhabited. British forces returned in 1833 to reassert the control which was briefly held jointly with Spain until 1774 when the British left, leaving behind nothing more than a plaque claiming the islands for King George III. The Spanish left shortly thereafter, leaving a few dozen gauchos and fishermen behind.
Argentina calls Britain’s 1833 incursion an illegal occupation, and has never recognized its sovereignty claims. Following the 1982 conflict, the two countries didn’t re-establish diplomatic relations until 1990.
In a referendum in March 2013, less than two months after this picture was taken, 99.8 percent of the islands’ voters chose to remain under British rule.
The dispute was resurrected last week when the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf sided with Argentina when it ratified the country’s 2009 report fixing the limits of its territory at 200 to 350 miles from its coast. The Guardian reports:
Argentina’s government is celebrating a decision by a UN commission to expand its maritime territory in the South Atlantic Ocean by 35% to include the disputed Falkland islands and beyond.
The Argentine foreign ministry said its waters had increased by 1.7 million square km (0.66 million square miles) and the decision will be key in its dispute with Britain over the islands.
But the decision also included the following:
The UN commission’s finding included the caveat that there is an unresolved diplomatic dispute between Argentina and Britain over the islands.
Predictably the UK dismissed the report.
But the UK Foreign Office said “the commission has no jurisdiction over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands”. It added the UN body itself acknowledged that the commission’s own rules of procedure do not allow it to consider cases where overlapping claims are made, as is the case with the Falklands.
Oil drilling began in the waters near the Falklands/Malvinas in 2010, adding another dimension to the dispute.
The conflict also breathed life into a t-shirt industry. The one above reads: ‘They are the Malvinas, not the Falklands. They are not English, they are Argentine.’ I bought one and later passed it on at a birthday party for a young woman whose father was from Buenos Aires and mother from Liverpool. I hope she’s still wearing it.
New to this weekly series?
Then I strongly encourage you to invest just a few minutes and catch up here. And here, too, with a special video presentation (rounded out by a killer soundtrack!) I put together to celebrate the Mannequin Monday project’s first year — an entirely unexpected one year anniversary. It’ll all conspire to make your Monday just a little bit better than it already is and to serve as a blunt reminder that your week will only get better from here. Again, you’re very welcome. And don’t forget to tell your friends.
By the way, this image, snapped in Buenos Aires on 24 January 2013 also serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 822nd (!!) straight. When you’ve got a few minutes to spare, you can check out some of those here. Enjoy!