Thursday 14 March 2013

The Pope and the Falklands.

Pope Francis, it is reported, shares his Argentinian President's belief that the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, should belong to Argentina.

Last week, there  was a referendum on the islands to find out what was the will of the people in terms of future sovereignty. This was closely monitored by a team of international observers.
Here are the results.

Results of the referendum on the Political Status of the Falkland Islands

On Monday 11th March 2013, Keith Padgett, Chief Referendum Officer gave notice that the result of the referendum on the Political Status of the Falkland Islands are as follows:
The number of ballot papers issued was 1,522
The number of votes cast at the referendum was 1,518
The total number of rejected ballot papers was 1
The total number of votes validly cast at the referendum was 1,517
The percentage of turnout at the referendum was 92%
The number of “Yes” votes cast was 1,513 (99.8%)
The number of “No” votes cast was 3 (0.2%)
1 vote was unaccounted for
The international observation mission’s preliminary findings were released after the official announcement of the vote result.  Full statement is available to download in English and in Spanish here.
“It is our finding that the Falkland Islands referendum process was free and fair, reflecting the democratic will of the voters of the Falkland Islands,” said Brad Smith, the Head of the International Observation Mission. “The international observation mission has concluded that the voting process was executed in accordance with international standards and local laws. The process was technically sound, with a systematic adherence to established voting procedures.”

Clear enough, wouldn't you say. Some of those voters are in the ninth generation of families to have lived there. 
Argentina's president dismisses it as 'irrelevant'.
She claims the islanders are 'squatters' on land which naturally must be Argentinian territory, because... well, just because.

Here's a timeline, via Wikipedia , showing who, and for how long, has historically held the islands.

February 1764
– April 1767
January 1765
– July 1770
 Great Britain
April 1767
– February 1811
September 1771
– May 1776
 Great Britain
February 1811
– August 1829
August 1829
– December 1831
Argentina United Provinces
December 1831
– January 1832
 United States
January–December 1832 None
December 1832
– January 1833
 Argentine Confederation
January–August 1833  United Kingdom
August 1833
– January 1834
January 1834
– April 1982
 United Kingdom
April–June 1982  Argentina
June 1982
– present
 United Kingdom

So  it seems several others could proffer a claim too. Including the U.S.
The people there speak English, and their houses, their roads, their world owes nothing to Argentina.
If we are to talk of the tyranny of colonialism, which President Kircher brings up, well maybe we might ask her to explain why the population of the country she represents speaks spanish as its main language?
And we might ask her  how the native Fuegian and Patagonian tribes fared under the colonisation of her forbears? How they were hunted and slaughtered by the colonial Argentinians of european  origin. 
It seems to me that the people of the islands should be heard, and supported by the world. And that any nation who talks of 'Democracy' as an ideal, should stand by them. 
(Next Week:  Canada invades St Pierre and Miquelon, after finding a tiny French colonial outpost only a few miles off the southern edge of Newfoundland. )

There's a New Pope.

Yes, I know... It's an old pope, one or other of them. 
The point made remains relevant.
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I Can't Dance.

There's a time in a kid's life when dance is natural. Whatever happened to mine passed suddenly, and I thus have all the dancing ability of a block of stone. Two left feet. Disconcertingly unco-ordinated.

My best friend, when I was a kid, was sent by his parents to dance classes. I ridiculed him, unfairly, because by then, young teenage years, it seemed to me that dancing was a neat way to get a grappling hold on the mysterious, and largely unapproachable opposite sex. In truth, I was a bit jealous.

Whether wibbling about to contemporary pop, or those ballroom dancers I saw on T.V.,  or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the whole thing was a mystery, into which other people were initiated, but somehow, I was held in ignorance.

Luckily for me, my lack of prowess in this particular field is not usually a problem. The Red-Dirt Girl is not big on dancing either.
What pisses me off no end is when someone at a party, who has had a bit too much to drink, insists I dance with them, and won't take no for an answer.

There's a mystery, when I dream, sometimes I can dance. I think on the whole, I'd prefer to be able to dance and choose not to, rather than the current state of unable and choose not to.

When she asked me to dance I said, "I have two left feet."
And the she took my hand and whispered a song so sweet
And she said, "Hold me as close as you can 'til my body's on fire."
It's just a vertical expression of horizontal desire.

So we moved like water being poured over polished steel
And I really can't translate the way she made me feel
And the music played on and the mercury just went higher
It's just a vertical expression of horizontal desire.

We did the samba, the mambo
The tango, the two-step while we romanced
And when the music got fast
We just held to each other and slow danced.

I took nothing for granted but I wished I could stay all night
And as we walked into her place she reached out to dim the light
She said, "Dance with me darling 'til the moon and the stars retire."
It's just a vertical expression of horizontal desire.

It's just a vertical expression of horizontal desire...

Lyrics:  David Bellamy

The expression "Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire" has been attributed to Robert Frost, Oscar Wilde, ...... And George Bernard Shaw.
There seems to be no evidence whatsoever to back up the claim for either Frost or Wilde, and the only printed evidence for Shaw was in an article written twelve years after his death, but it was actually thus:
Google Books The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
By Elizabeth M. Knowles
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Pg. 709 (George Bernard Shaw):
[Dancing is] a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.
in New Statesman 23 March 1962