A call has been made for Britain’s prime minister to apologise to Argentina for a vandal’s act of “sacrilege” at its war cemetery on the Falkland Islands.
The glass case protecting a statue of the Virgin Mary of Lujan has been smashed at the cemetery, where 237 servicemen were buried with full military honours after the 1982 conflict.
The statue – dressed in the blue and white of Argentina’s flag – has been removed while repairs are made to the shrine in the cemetery on East Falkland.
Former soldier Crispin Black, who visited the site during the 20th anniversary commemorations of the conflict, writes about the vandalism on The Week website. “I am appalled at the desecration,” he says, “as no doubt is every single British veteran of that war and every single Falklander. The families of the Argentine war dead have rightly called the attack an act of sacrilege.
“If he hasn’t already done so already, a telephone call from David Cameron to Cristina Kirchner [president of Argentina] with a properly expressed apology would be the most civilised way forward.”
Black says he is confident the culprit will quickly be caught and dealt with – “as harshly as possible, I hope.”
I disagree. It wasn’t David Cameron that damaged the monument. It wasn’t done by a member of his government. Or even by any government, local or national. The damage was – as far as we can tell – the act of a lone idiot who doubtless thought his actions were some kind of stab against the Argentinians. But that’s hardly David Cameron’s fault. If the Prime Minister goes around apologising for every act of madness performed by his nearly 60m people, he’s going to be rather too busy to govern the country. David Cameron should NOT apologise.
- John Turner, St Helena
Random Thoughts from Offshore – blog
No excuses for desecration of Argentines’ war cemetery – Crispin Black