When I think about the Falkland Islands, I am immediately taken back to 1982 when Ronald Reagan was President and Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister of Great Britain. I was in college in 1982 and remember the British Invasion of the Falklands, but I did not really understand the issues or why the Falkland Islands were important to Great Britain or Argentina.
I imagine the Argentines claimed ownership of the Islands because they were off their coast. The British first came to the Falklands and developed a settlement in 1700’s. After giving up the islands to the Spanish, in 1833 Britain retook the Islands and has been in possession of them ever since. The Falklands Islanders number 3,662 and they are a proud British people, many who’s families have been there for generations. We meet one person who’s family has been on the islands for 7 generations.
When the Argentines invaded under the leadership of President Leopoldo Galtieri they made several miscalculations. First was they thought there would be perceived as liberators by the Falkland Islanders, but they were not, they are British sovereigns and wanted nothing to do with Argentina. Second, they did not think the British would come all they way from England to defend the Islands, until one day an entire Armada of British Ships showed up at their doorstep to liberate the islands. The war lasted 72 days before Argentina surrendered to the British.
We arrived in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands early in the morning and we were excited to see this very unique place. We took a tender from our Boat into picturesque Stanley Harbor and disembarked, almost immediately it was apparent how much the Falkland Island war still impacts them today over 40 years later. We did typical tourist things on shore. We ate the most amazing fish & chips and we visited a beach where many penguins nest and live. We were told it took 10 years for the Argentine mines to be cleared from the beach so it could be used again by locals.
We visited the Anglican Cathedral, the Southern most Anglican Church in the world. It’s a beautiful brick church with stain glass windows. Inside the walls were lined with plaques in memory of the members of the Church who were lost in the 1982 war.
We left the Cathedral and continued walking, we came to a war memorial commemorating the British and Falkland Islanders who gave their lives in the 1982 war with Argentina. We saw two soldiers and a woman placing a wreath and leaving a Falkland Island flag to honor someone who’s name was listed there. There is a bust of Margret Thatcher at the memorial with this inspcription:
“They are few in number, but they have a right to live in peace, to choose their own way of life and to determine their own allegiances.”
I was reminded that the Christian life involves a “spiritual war,” one we fight everyday against the devil and his demons who are trying to defeat and destroy us. He is an enemy invading a person that belongs to Jesus. This passage in Ephesians 6 is a great reminder, kind of one like the war memorial on Thatcher Drive in Port Stanley. I would like to sign off with the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6: 10-12:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”