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The people of the Falklands

From Scotland, George Sassoon says"It is an historical fact that the name "Malvinas"derives from the islands' discovery by sailors from St. Malo, but neither they nor any Spanish-speaking people ever established permanent settlements there. The Argentine claim seems to be based solely on geographical propinquity. The only people hardy enough to settle there were Scots. In Mull we have several 'kelpers' who live permanently, and also some who come over for sheep-shearing. They have an accent which is quite difficult to understand, between N.Z. and S. African".

My comment: The people of the Falklands are called "kelpers". The heated discussion about the islands is carried on in general ignorance of international law. Discovery and propinquity are no longer considered important. Since Grotius, effective occupation has been an important criterion. One proof of that was the digging of wells, which are scarcely necessary in the Falklands. Most important in practice is the will of the inhabitants, and the kelpers definitely do not want to be Argentines. Even offers of autonomy are dismissed. Any country would be tempting disaster to take over a people against its will. Even thought Russians and Poles are of the same ethnicity, it was folly for Russia to take it over. They were hated and finally had to give up the country. Unfortunately governments have long launched international ventures to get the people to rally around the flag and to take their minds n off its own failures. This was a cause of the Crusades, which failed and led to lasting hatreds which curse the modern world.

Ronald Hilton - 4/8/02