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The Falklands and the BBC Comments


flycatcher1

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I have just being looking at a piece on the BBC News Site about the new Argentinian claim to the Falklands.

Having read the comments made by the readers on that site I realise just how sane and sensible this Forum is.

Do people really think like that? The Moderator was kept pretty busy.

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Woolwell

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The problem with online forums is that people can spout any kind of nonsense anonymously. I'm not sure that the comment part of news stories adds to anything as it brings out too many trolls.

Slightly off subject - I am disappointed that the Guardian and Independent accepted the adverts. I was in Port Stanley the day after the Argentines surrendered and therefore my views may be coloured by that experience.

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Forum Editor

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Woolwell

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has as much right as anyone else to buy advertising space in a newspaper, as long as the content placed in the space doesn't fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Anyone with a reasonable knowledge of the history if the Falklands knows that Argentina has a valid claim to the territory. It was in Argentinian hands as late as 1833 (when we took possession by military occupation), and Argentina has disputed our claim ever since.

Our contention is that the islanders would be subject to what amounts to modern colonialism if sovereignty was to be transferred, against their will, to a 'foreign'power. It's a very difficult situation made worse by the fact of the considerable oil reserves in the region.

Eventually the islands must surely revert to Argentina - it defies commonsense to think otherwise. The problem of the British citizenship of the islanders has to be resolved first, however.

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Woolwell

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Surely there is a difference between "free" speech and a paid for advert.

Prof Dodds has more than a reasonable knowledge of the history of the Falklands and it is worthwhile listening to his interview on the Today programme BBC Today interview.

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Flak999

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"Eventually the islands must surely revert to Argentina"

I really don't see why! Are we, whilst were at it going to give Gibraltar to the Spanish? Ulster to the Republic of Ireland? Perhaps China will relinquish it's hold over Tibet? Going a bit further back shall we hand ourselves over to the French!!

Whatever the claims dating back hundreds of years, we fought a war for those islands against a foreign aggressor who invaded. We have spent British lives freeing the islands from dictatorship, they are ours!

Kirchner is just attempting to divert her public's minds from their own lamentable situation. I am sure the Falklander's will vote overwhelmingly in the upcoming referendum to retain their British ties.

There should be no negotiations with the Argentinians, they fought a war for the islands and were militarily defeated, that should be an end of the matter!

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rickf

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The "British Empire" has given back most lands colonised I don't see how we can justifiably hold on to it. As FE pointed out, historically this is Argentinian territory which we took by force. As with many parts of the Far East where we once owned land, many British citizens either decided to stay on or come back to the UK.

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Woolwell

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There is a good argument that historically it is not Argentinian territory. You have to go back to the 1700's when Spain (Argentina at that time was a Spanish colony), France and Great Britain laid claim to the islands. At one time it was agreed that Spain could have one part and Great Britain another. Then both the British and Spanish left with the British still declaring sovereignty. The British left mainly due to the pressures of the American War of Independence. All parties seem to have found it difficult to survive there. In 1825 Argentina gained independence and then they tried to establish a settlement on the islands. In 1831 the USA had a dispute with the settlers, took most of them off and declared the islands free from governance. During all of this time Britain continued to object. Regarding the taking back by force in 1833 then it is worthwhile reading wikipedia and other sources which indicate that force was not used.

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Diemmess

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As I understand the history of the place, the French have an earlier claim. Freebooters from St Malo area gave the name to the group of Les Malouines.

When they lost interest one part of what became a united Argentina briefly took over from the French and eventually lost interest in the place having more urgent needs back home.

The British whalers and ex-pat Welsh (some from Patagonia) established a colony which made a scratch living from sheep. When wool pries were good they did well, but had a meagre living overall.

With all the comings and goings and the Battle of the Falklands in 1914, nothing seemed to figure over sovereignty until modern factory ships bolstered a rich fishing area and -- OIL prospects.

The tragedy to me was that had Argentina continued to trade without military threats she would have taken over these islands in a few years. The only air route was from Comodoro, children went to the mainland for secondary education, and a healthy tourist business was under way.

What captivated so many of its settlers was the tranquillity and charm of the place where most of the population knew all the others.

That will never return as it was, but is politically useful to the rulers of Argentina whenever there's economic trouble at home to have a go at the British.

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Woolwell

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rickf - The British have "given back" places where there was previously an indigenous population. There was no indigenous population in the Falklands. So give it back to who? The people who live there now are mainly of British extract. If you are stating that the Falklands should be independent then that it is a different matter from being a colony of Argentina.

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Forum Editor

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Flak999

"we fought a war for those islands against a foreign aggressor who invaded. We have spent British lives freeing the islands from dictatorship, they are ours!"

And in the past we were the foreign aggressors who invaded, and what's all this about "freeing the islands from dictatorship"?

In 1967 we indicated (during negotiations) our willingness to return sovereignty of the islands to Argentina. We subsequently went back on our word, as a result of lobbying by the islanders.

*"There should be no negotiations with the Argentinians, they fought a war for the islands and were militarily defeated, that should be an end of the matter!"

But it will not be the end of the matter, because Argentina has a legitimate claim to sovereignty, and the United Nations Resolution 1514 (XV)called for an end to colonisation. That was in 1964, and at that time our government listed the Falklands as a British colony. Subsequently United Nations Resolution 2065 called upon Britain and Argentina to resolve the sovereignty dispute by negotiation. It was during the following talks that we indicated the willingness I mentioned above.

What the Argentine President is saying is that we should abide by the UN resolutions, and by the statement we made in earlier negotiations.

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nickf

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Give them independence , solve all the bickering over who owns them .

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