I am writing with regard to what I thought was a biased Q&A with Prof Kohen in the recent issue of HT. I understand this is how journalism works but surely such a divisive subject deserves some balance from both sides, or a neutral perspective maybe. As such, I would like to address a few points I feel at odds with the professor’s views.
1. His stance on international law makes no mention of the right of self-governance; this applies to many former colonies who have used this right, many choosing to stay under UK governance. Maybe if Argentina hadn’t taken such a bullying stance, the Falklands citizens would be more open to reason.
2. He claims the recent referendum was “rigged” due to 99.98% of the voting population being British! Whilst the majority are of British descent there are also those of French, Finnish, Scandinavian, Uruguayan, and Chilean descent.
3. He states that Argentina has the support of many nations – any decent modern country would consider it a faux pas to offer support to either side as they are aware that many small islands around the world have links of governance with countries that have no proximity (Caribbean, Canary islands, Faroe islands are just a few examples)
4. Zone of peace! Let's not forget which country initiated what invasion, which made such a military presence necessary – just because they have a downgraded military doesn’t mean they should be discounted.
5. As for the UK simply wanting to exploit resources like oil, how does that explain the population being there so long before the possibility of oil was discovered? The oil situation is a recent find, and besides is he saying that Argentina is not interested in exploiting the resources? At least under UK governance the Falklands would get to keep a greater share of the profits – which is quite unlikely under Argentinian governance given their recent exploits with the IMF and their possible expulsion which is forecast for the near future.
6. Britain has had claim to the Falklands since before Argentina existed! Let's not forget that Argentina itself is a former colony of Spain, and after they gained their independence Luis Vernet went to the Falklands and asked the British for permission to build a settlement which they allowed; he then went on to declare himself governor and have the exclusive fishing rights whilst hoisting the Argentinian flag, the British objected to this, and this is when the settlement was removed.
7. He speaks of Argentinian intellectuals who have succumbed to the British press whilst repeating Kirchner’s rhetoric about anti-colonialism, whilst at the same time demanding their right to colonise some islands 300 miles from an area of land they themselves colonised off the Patagonians! As they are so anti-colonial are they planning on giving land back to the Patagonians? I don’t think so.