Review Los Irlandeses (reply)

Comments of the Editor on the review by Mariano Galazzi.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to comment on the review by Mariano Galazzi, which in general seems to me pretty fair. I was pleased to see that he picked up many of the points made in the Introduction. In particular the need to look beyond the Anglo Celtic majority in the Islands’ population to consider the contribution made by immigrants from Northern Europe and Latin America.

On references, he is right to regret my decision to omit them. There were good practical reasons for trying to keep the book short and above all below two kgs in weight; but the absence of references and a bibliography has reduced the Dictionary’s value to professionals.

He kindly corrected the spelling of Charrúa and reminded me that Rosas was never a president. In the same spirit, I should point out that the Tabaris Highlanders came to Stanley at the start of the Second World War, not the First. The yachtsman O’Brien used his (more Irish) second name “Conor” rather than the (very English) “Edward”. I am not sure why the botanist Professor David Moore is described as from the Irish diaspora – nor is he. Moore is a common name on both sides of the Irish Sea.

A couple of particular comments:

Of course one must second Mariano Galazzi’s call for history to generate a respectful debate and overcome hatred, confrontation and mistrust. As he notes, I deliberately did not impose a single version of history on my contributors and there is plenty of material and scope for respectful debate in the DFB. But the sovereignty dispute cannot be omitted from Falklands history – more’s the pity. Since the sad departure of the late Dr Guido di Tella, Argentine policy towards the Islands has reverted to confrontation and it does not seem unreasonable in a work of history to point to the deficiencies in the historical account which the Argentine delegation rehearses annually at the United Nations. All history is contemporary history, said Croce, and this applies as much to the Falklands as to much larger territories.

Finally I am grateful for the encouragement to proceed to a website – and must start work on it!

David Tatham 

May 2009