I have a dream of a world where enjoying yourself is not frowned upon and laws are just and equally applied to all – where a person has freedoms.
We hadn’t been back from America long when the Falklands crisis blew up. Those evil Argentineans had dared to land on a set of islands they arrogantly called the Malvinas when everybody knew they were really called the Falklands. For some obscure reason the Argentinians made some historical claim to these islands and, it seems, they have been a bone of contention in Argentina for years, just because they happened to be situated a short distance off the coast of Argentina and a whopping six thousand miles away from Britain.
Trust the Argentineans to get it wrong.
Didn’t they know the British had landed on those islands, run their flag up, and laid claim to them hundreds of years ago? They must have known that because that’s what the British did everywhere they landed, regardless of who was living there – particularly if the indigenous people were black or brown. In the days of the British Empire black or brown people obviously weren’t civilised so they did not count at all.
Now, I don’t mean to be too harsh on the British here. Not because I am British, you understand. Conquering was an evil practice that the British did better than anybody. It was not even a colour or race thing. Slavery and the conquering of other nations was what all humans did to each other regardless of race or colour. The blacks did it to other blacks, and browns to blacks and other browns, whites to other whites, reds to reds, and so on. Even the slave trade was inaugurated and sponsored by black tribes preying on other black tribes and selling black slaves to the Arabs who sold them on to the white traders. It was more that the British, and later the Americans, did it more thoroughly and efficiently. It was not something to be proud of, but we British conquered, enslaved and exploited better than anybody else at that point in history.
I don’t mean to digress, merely to explain. We had landed there and run up the flag, hence it was British forever. Those were the rules. We should know. We made up those rules.
Then again there were a lot of people living on the island and it has to be said that some of them were Argentinean but the majority were, or considered themselves to be, British. They lived a quiet rural life farming or fishing. There wasn’t an awful lot to do out there.
It all went along very smoothly with commerce with the mainland, ferrying goods back and forth between Argentina and the Falklands. Britain was much too far away to have meaningful commerce with, but the people still thought of themselves as British and the majority did not want to be ruled from Argentina. For some reason they wanted their masters to be British.
When the Argentinians landed and laid claim to the place people were up in arms.
In a democracy you ask the people.
Matter solved. Ask the Argentineans to go home.
After all, what was so important about a desolate island somewhere out in the ocean six thousand miles away from Britain? Why cause bother?
It surely wasn’t anything to do with the Antarctic, natural resources, oil, gas and mineral wealth? Surely not? No. This was democracy. The people had a right to choose. If they wanted to be British then British they had the right to be. Mrs Thatcher said so. The pesky Argentinians had invaded British sovereign territory. A lesson had to be taught.
A task force was rapidly put together and prepared for war as the British war effort swung into action.
Now back in England I decided to hold a debate in my classroom and explore the situation from all sides. To maybe weigh up the various options and apply a bit of logic to what was becoming a volatile situation. I gathered the class in and began a good old British debate where cool, calm reason was brought to bear, to tease out the possibilities and current intricacies of the situation and arrive at the best solution.
Before a few minutes had passed I found myself presiding over a bunch of hysterical demons baying for blood and chanting ‘Argies out!’ as if these people had always been our enemies and were the devil incarnate. Reason did not seem to be the main thrust of their argument. It was yet another scene from Orwell’s vision of the future. Of course, I repeated it throughout the day even though it was a bit depressing.
This thoughtless war fever could never happen here! But it did.
Sometimes it is necessary to keep restating the obvious otherwise what were once obvious ceases to exist.
I have a vision of a world where cultures are not homogenised into some twenty-first century plastic universe, where nature is not covered in concrete or fenced into reserves for human consumption.