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No Man Is An Island: Literature from the Malvinas/Falklands (The Nation)

It was like two bald men fighting over a comb, Borges famously declared. In 1982, for seventy-four days, England and Argentina fought over an inhospitable, craggy archipelago in the South Atlantic. The islands were known in England as the Falklands, in Argentina as the Malvinas, and the bloody skirmish between the two nations capped centuries of discord over the territory . . .

The Argentine junta invaded the islands on April 2. Caught by surprise and promptly sobered, the British launched a counterattack in May; they routed the Argentine forces after some unexpected setbacks, then pushed them out by June. Ultimately, the English traveled 8,000 miles south to defend land most English schoolboys had never heard of, as one journalist quipped. The Argentines, with notably less sea and ground to cover, “retook” an archipelago whose inhabitants spoke broken Spanish with English accents. By the fighting’s end, Margaret Thatcher had a cause célèbre to distract the country from the bitter medicine she’d been dispensing at home. Argentina’s military dictatorship, which had attempted to stave off its own collapse by invading the islands in the first place, limped away disgraced as the public reeled. Two bald men indeed.

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