The former lead singer of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Malvinas veteran Julio Aro, British ex Colonel Geoffrey Cardozo and Argentine journalist Gaby Cociffi were honored last Friday with “Two Roses for Peace” at the Argentine embassy residence in London in a ceremony hosted by ambassador Carlo Sersale Di Cerisano.
The ceremony was in recognition to the ten-year effort displayed by the four personalities in helping UK and Argentina governments agree on a humanitarian mission, entrusted to the International Red Cross which helped identify the remains of 90 of the 121 graves at the Darwin cemetery in the Falkland Islands, and which to this day have a black granite plaque that reads, Argentine soldier, only known unto God, but on 26 March will be replaced by tombstones with the full name of the fallen combatants.
Besides the emotion of the event, it was also significant because the head of the Red Cross Humanitarian Project Laurent Corbaz and Luis Fondebrider from the Argentine Anthropologic Forensic team, announced that the 90th body remains at Darwin cemetery has been fully identified.
My father died in the Second World War, my grandfather is buried in France since the first world war. When I was approached by Gaby Cociffi, I had no doubts about getting involved in the cause. Because my father and by grandpa taught me to do what was correct said Roger Waters at the ceremony. He added he expects to continue collaborating with the mission and most probably next November I will meet with other relatives.
The four were awarded a Two Roses piece designed by Argentina's silversmith Juan Carlos Pallarols made out of war ordnance and other metals from the battles including aircraft remains.
Ambassdor Sersale di Cerisano underlined the work done over the years, we always worked without conditioning from any of the two governments, privileging the humanitarian mission
For his part Malvinas veteran Julio Aro said that for years they felt like David confronting many Goliaths. He added that at first it seemed impossible this could be achieved, but the strength and determination we received from the soldiers' mothers was essential to continue advancing.
Retired Colonel Cardozo also expressed his happiness, in 1982 I buried those soldiers as if they were my boys, and knowing that today their parents can finally identify them is something that fills me with joy.
Back in 2008, Cardozo delivered to three Malvinas veterans, one of them Julio Aro, a report on the data he had collected from the burials, which helped create the foundation Don't forget me, made up of veterans, the mothers of the fallen and others who support the Malvinas cause.
It is an incredible humanitarian fact having achieved the objective of delivering peace to these families, which 36 years later continued to wait, said Aro. Without Cardozo this would not have been possible, to identify 90 of my fellow combatants, and we will continue until we have identified all of them. Cardozo will be flying to the Falklands with the relatives next 26 March.
Finally journalist Gaby Cociffi admitted that when started the only ones helping us were two British nationals, Cardozo and Roger Waters, my gratitude to them.
Attending the event were also the president of the Relatives of the Fallen in Malvinas Commission, Fernanda Araújo, and Dalal and Said Massad, parents of the soldier Daniel Massad. Ex football star Osvaldo Ardiles delivered the Two Roses to Waters.
I feel very honored by this award which represents two rewards in one: the feeling of the humanitarian work accomplished and the second being here today, said Waters who added that everybody has worked as a team, Geoffrey as a soldier and myself as a musician. Our hearts have felt the human compassion and make us feel as human beings. It's the best that could have happened, I am so fortunate
Waters also recalled a letter he sent to the Falklands Legislative Assembly some four, five years ago in which he explained how journalist Gabriela Cociffi had approached him to talk about the non identified soldiers at the Darwin cemetery and their double loss.
They had lost their beloved son, and there was no place where to leave a flower, said Waters, who revealed he aldo talked about the issue with ex president Cristina Fernandez and mothers of the soldiers when he visited Argentina.