This week the actor Sean Penn made some controversial claims about British neo-colonialism, with reference to the Falkland Islands. These are not, as you may think, an island theme park dedicated to the memory of Columbo actor Peter Falk. And just one more thing…
What Penn (perhaps best-known for his guest appearance as Phoebe’s boyfriend in Friends) neglected to realise, is that the Falkland Islands has been an overseas territory of Britain for longer than California has been a part of the USA. So maybe it is he who is playing the neo-colonialist, as his Malibou estate is on territory that was stolen from Mexico! Why doesn’t he enter negotiations with the Mexicans to return his property to its rightful owners?
Penn claims that sending Prince William to the Falkland Islands, gives out a message of intimidation. Not sure how. I guess he must find the sight of a search and rescue pilot just a little scary. Really Sean, the prince is just there to help.
What Penn also seems to be ignoring, is that the Falkland Islands have never been owned by Argentina. It’s not as if the islands are particularly close to Argentina. They are over 300 miles away, which is more than three times the distance that Cuba is from the USA. Does Penn think that Obama should text Castro an invite to meet up for a guy’s night out of beers, cigars and bilateral talks?
And let’s not forget the people who really matter – the Falklanders themselves. If you’re in any doubt about what their opinions are, I suggest clicking through to their official Twitter page. You’ll be left in no doubt at all. Safe to say, they’re not happy with Mr Penn right now. They want to stay British and they want the right of self-determination.
Furthermore, the Falkland Islands is not exactly a colony ‘ruled over’ by the British. And it’s certainly not a territory like Diego Garcia, where the native inhabitants were forced to leave their homes. The islands are self-governing. So surely it is Argentina that is acting like a neo-colonial power by insisting that it has a right of ownership, against the wishes of the residents?
At least some in Argentina see sense. In an open letter to the president Cristina Kirchner, leading intellectuals have argued for Falkland self-determination and an end to the empty, provocative political rhetoric.
So, questions that one has to ask: why has Sean Penn taken it upon himself to repeatedly display his ignorance to the world’s media? How big is this guy’s ego? Why should we care what a Hollywood actor thinks anyway? When will he shave off that Hitler moustache?