1982 Falklands/Malvinas war still kills

This music video from Britain about the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas war is called CRASS – Sheep farming in the Falklands. Lyrics are here.

By Tom Clifford, Truthout in the USA:

Suicides Outpace Combat Deaths, and Benefits Access a Struggle, for Veterans of Falklands/Malvinas War

Saturday, 14 April 2012 00:00

The battle for the British-controlled Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina continues to kill, even 30 years after Argentine troops landed there on April 2, 1982. The struggle for a group of windblown islands in the South Atlantic has claimed more lives since the fighting ended than when battle raged. SAMA – the South Atlantic Medal Association, which represents and helps Falklands veterans in Britain – says that at least 264 veterans of the Falklands have now taken their own lives. This contrasts with the 255 who died in active service.

In Argentina, the battle for the Malvinas, as the Argentines call the Falklands, has taken an even higher toll. Much like their US counterparts home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – who, in 2010 and 2011, lost more of their lives to suicide than to combat – it is almost certain that more Argentine veterans have taken their own lives than were killed in the Falklands war, according to Peniel Villarreal, a member of the Federation of War Veterans of Argentina. I met with Villarreal and other veterans in a run-down Buenos Aires suburb in 2009.

It is difficult to confirm an exact number because of the shame involved in suicide, and many of the deaths have been disguised as accidents.

Argentina‘s military regime mistakenly counted on the United States to support its 149-year-old claim to the British territory. The defeat marked the beginning of the end for the Argentine junta, and a democratic government was elected in 1983.

This small war had other major consequences. It ensured two election victories for Margaret Thatcher, discredited military rule not just in Argentina, but across South America and ushered in an age of democracy in Argentina.

In the 74-day war, 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors and airmen, and three civilian Falklanders were killed.

But at least 400 Argentine Falkland veterans have taken their own lives since then, highlighting the tormented plight of those who came back defeated to a country that wanted to forget. This figure represents only confirmed suicides.

“When we returned, we were ignored,” said Villarreal. “We were nobodies. Nobody wanted to talk to us, give us health care or jobs. We came back from a campaign where our friends were killed to a country that viewed us as letting them down. That’s why more than 400 of our colleagues have taken their own lives.”

The veterans call it a forgotten war, not because of the lapse of time, but simply because no one wanted to remember.

“We were told to stay silent,” said Santiago Tettamanzi, an officer on the Caracarana, a merchant supply ship that was attacked off Port King. “Coming back as a defeated army is so different than coming back as a victorious one.”

The military junta ordered them not to speak about their experiences, and the veterans went quietly back to their homes and struggled to rebuild their lives.

9 thoughts on “1982 Falklands/Malvinas war still kills

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