Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters is currently on a tour of South America and this week was in Argentina for a first concert in La Plata, and on Thursday the City of Buenos Aires Legislative Council is scheduled to award him a Guest of Honor diploma.
The British singer is much loved in Uruguay and Argentina for his anti war political positions and particularly his several years involvement in helping to identify the unknown graves of Argentine soldiers, buried in the Falklands since the end of the South Atlantic conflict.
In effect before the concert in La Plata, Waters met with several next of kin of Malvinas combatants and later dedicated Mother after mentioning their presence in the event.
Waters commitment to the identification process of the remains at the Argentine military cemetery in the Falklands is believed to have taken off when Argentine journalist Gabriela Cociffi sent him an e-mail requesting help for the task and for ensuring that the next of kin could know where their loved ones were buried.
Waters who confessed that his grandfather fought in the Great War and is buried in France and his father died during the Second World War immediately supported and collaborated with the humanitarian mission that would take several years.
In 2008, Malvinas veteran Julio Aro visited the Argentine military cemetery near Darwin and felt shocked that so many of his fellow combatants, 121, were buried with gravestones that identified the remains as belonging to An Argentine soldier, only known to God. He decided to correct the situation despite knowing it was going to be a complicated task.
Aro later came across the British Army retired Colonel Geoffrey Cardoso, who was responsible for the burial of the Argentine combatants in the Falklands in 1982, and had meticulously registered the graves, the remains and any items that could help in a future identification effort. The unidentified graves totaled 121.
Rogers gets involved and appeals for a humanitarian effort from then president Cristina Fernandez and former Prime Minister David Cameron, despite their profound differences regarding the Falklands, and the Argentine government aggressive policy towards the Islands trying to isolate them, and strangle their economy.
Finally in December 2016, the governments of Argentina and the UK, with the consent of the Falklands, agreed to implement the identification process started in 2012, under the Red Cross International Commission. This crystallized in the Humanitarian Project Plan sponsored by the constructive attitude of the governments of President Mauricio Macri and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
An international team of multi discipline forensic experts exhumed remains, and artifacts, double checking them with DNA samples from the next of kin, working with the blueprint of the cemetery from Colonel Cardoso. The humanitarian project enabled to give some ninety graves stones a full name, and remains were again buried with dignity in coffins. But work has not stopped and with all the data collected the number of identified has jumped to 102, out of 121.
Waters at the La Plata concert said it was a special night for him because of the mothers of the children who lost their lives in war. I'm proud to meet you, but it's hard for me to talk because I am very much emotional. I only want to embrace each of you
And on stage he asked for a few minutes of silence to honor the Malvinas mothers and insisted we must continue until all 121 are fully identified. He finished the show wearing a poncho, a gift from the sister of an Argentine combatant fallen on 12 June 1982 at Mount Longdon battle. Huge screens showed Waters with the Mothers.
The success of the identification process in the Falklands by the team of forensic experts and all those involved plus a delegation of Malvinas mothers will be honored at a special ceremony at Red Cross offices in Geneva.