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Montevideo, April 24th 2019 - 00:42 UTC

Argentine cemetery benefactor visits Falklands to say “thank you” for the joint humanitarian identification program

Monday, December 17th 2018 - 21:34 UTC
Full article 10 comments
Eduardo Eurnekian with former British Ambassador to Buenos Aires Robin Christopher (L) and Mark Kent, current British ambassador in Buenos Aires (R) Eduardo Eurnekian with former British Ambassador to Buenos Aires Robin Christopher (L) and Mark Kent, current British ambassador in Buenos Aires (R)
Eduardo Eurnekian with MLA Roger Spink Eduardo Eurnekian with MLA Roger Spink
Tim Miller in charge of the cemetery with Eduardo Eurnekian Tim Miller in charge of the cemetery with Eduardo Eurnekian
Argentine War Cemetery Argentine War Cemetery

Argentine entrepreneur Eduardo Eurnekián, who financed the Argentine cemetery in the Falkland Islands to bury with dignity those who perished in the 1982 war and also the March 26 flights for relatives to visit the graves of the newly-identified bodies, last week flew to the Islands to the place that has touched his heart since 2003 and thank everybody for the humanitarian accomplishment.

In an unprecedented event for an Argentine citizen post-1982, Eurnekián was greeted by every Falklands' authority one can think of, civilian, military and religious.

In 2003, Eurnekián took it upon himself at the request of then British Ambassador to Buenos Aires Robin Christopher to convert a precarious cemetery into a memorial for the Argentine combatants fallen during the conflict. The old cemetery had remained unchanged since 1983.

In 2004, Eurnekián commenced work at the old graveyard laid out by the Commonwealth War Commission under British Colonel Geoffrey Cardozo.

And from that moment on Eurnekián made the humanitarian cause his own by sponsoring the Malvinas Family Commission and supporting maintenance at Darwin, among other things. Earlier this month he even took care of the costs of bringing the body of Captain Luis Castagnari to Rio Cuarto to be laid to rest next to his eldest son who had died of cancer at age 3.

When he deplaned at Mount Pleasant, Eurnekián was greeted by Governor Nigel Phillips CBE, together with Chief Executive Barry Rowland, Works and Infrastructure Director Colin Summers, Brigadier Nick Sawyer, commander of the British Forces of the South Atlantic Islands, Catholic Father John Wisdom and Falklands lawmaker MLA Roger Spink, who had been in Geneva earlier this year attending to details regarding the process of identifying the unnamed bodies.

Also at the air terminal were Falkland Islands Company Director Kevin Ironside as well as Tim Miller, owner of Stanley Growers Market Garden and in charge of the cemetery.

At lunch, Eurnekián said “Thank you!” for the hosts' assistance on March 26 when the relatives flew to the Falklands to see named tombs instead of the old “Argentine soldier known only by God.”

The British and Falklands authorities reportedly praised and recognized Eurnekián’s commitment to something the Argentine government should have undertaken long ago.

“This was a humanitarian visit. Eurnekián having Armenian ancestry particularly appreciating the way the dead were treated” commented MLA Spink to MercoPress.

Eurnekián was not aboard on March 26, saying that day was for the relatives, that they were the ones who deserved it. They were the ones in mourning.

All parties agreed to underline the importance of “ordinary citizens” who carried out the humanitarian cause of identifying the fallen, particularly Malvinas veteran Julio Aro of the No Me Olvides (Forget Me Not) Foundation, Colonel Geoffrey Cardozo, and Roger Waters, the former leader of Pink Floyd, who took the initiative to the presidential office during his visit to Argentina in 2012 and managed to open doors that had been closed for years.

Eurnekián, CEO of Corporación América, presented Governor Philips and MLA Roger Spink with commemorative plaques with the AA2000 (a CA subsidiary) logo which read: “OUR GRATITUDE FOR HELPING THE FAMILIES OF OUR FALLEN HEROES FINDING THEIR PEACE”.

In return, Eurnekián, an amateur astronomer, received from Brigadier Sawyer a framed photograph of the Milky Way and a book with the Islands' flora and fauna.

It was a meeting of camaraderie, of people with common interests who want to build bonds and pursue peace and reconciliation.

Significantly accompanying Eurnekián were Miguel Acevedo, president of the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA); Daniel Pelegrina, president of Sociedad Rural Argentina (Rural Association); Robin Christopher, British ambassador to Argentina in 2003; Mark Kent, current British ambassador in Buenos Aires; Richard Jones, of the British embassy and who worked in the cause of the identification of the fallen ones; Roberto Curilovic, logistics manager at AA2000 (Aeropuertos Argentina 2000) and an Argentine Navy aviator in 1982, and Carolina Barros, Director of Communications and International Relations of Corporación América.

After lunch, it was time to visit the Argentine military cemetery at Darwin together with Fergus Cliff, second in command of the British Forces in the islands, Colin Summers, Father Wisdom, Tim Miller and Kevin Ironside.

Upon arriving at the cemetery, great was the surprise when they met Marcelo Vallejo, a war veteran and an actor in the Mined Field company of three British ad three Argentine actors who tour the world portraying what it was like back there in 1982.

Eurnekián stopped and prayed before each cross. The road to mutual understanding started with a simple “Thank you.” (Source and photos: Infobae)

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  • Islander1

    Yes Roger- Think knows, I was indeed there. And on March 26th also. Eventfull days both. The issue is- yes we no doubt differ widely on the political issues- but- even hardline Islanders take the view that there are 2 issues- One is Sovereignty of our Islands. The other is the right to respect and dignity in their final resting places of those who died in battle- in the uniform of their country, under orders- doing their job- irrespective of the colour of their uniform.
    Alive- yes they were our enemies- but having paid the ultimate price- they deserve some respect and a decent resting place.
    Its all about that, dignity decency and respect - and politics does not come into it. That was crystal clear to everyone there the other day. A decent man - saying from his heart- Thankyou- to Islanders for what they have done to allow those families to finally grieve and square the circle of their loss.

    Dec 18th, 2018 - 01:37 am +4
  • Roger Lorton

    They flew quietly in, and they flew quietly out.
    Nothing was disturbed.
    Certainly not the citizenry
    After all ........
    They may have views

    Dec 17th, 2018 - 10:44 pm +1
  • Islander1

    Roger,
    Was basically a private visit. Was not a secret as such, those who went from FI side were not told to keep it quiet.but agree FIG did shoot itself in the foot over the way they handled the mews side of it- they do have a recent habit of doing so every time!
    The boss of Infobae came as a personal friend and guest of the benefactor and I guess to do a factual report - which he did.

    Dec 18th, 2018 - 09:56 am +1
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