Previously unheard / Hasta Ahora desconocido Initiative
They are indirect participants in the events of war-time and have shared in its long-term impact: the children of servicemen are war’s unspoken heroes; those who waited at home while their loved ones took part in warfare, or have grown-up with the legacy of a parent who took part in conflict.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the conflict in the South Atlantic, Tony Banks, a former Para and Falklands veteran and now a leading businessman and entrepreneur, has launched a unique initiative to facilitate digital conversations between the children of Argentine and British veterans who fought in 1982. The intention is not to create debate over the sovereignty of the islands, rather an exploration of the participants' shared experiences, encouraging constructive discussion about the legacy of the conflict for family members of veterans, and potentially foster new friendships.
This initiative was inspired by Tony’s own experiences in coming to terms with the emotional legacy of the war. During the conflict, Tony and his men had been ordered to strip belongings from Argentine prisoners, and during this process, a silver regimental trumpet came into his possession. In 2010, Tony tracked down the Argentine soldier who had owned the trumpet, Omar Rene Tabarez, and travelled to South America to return it to him in person and meet his family. The results of this meeting, for both, proved life-changing and form a key section of Tony’s newly published account of the conflict and its impact on his life, Storming The Falklands.
Participants of a similar age will be matched-up and appointments made for them to communicate using the video conferencing facilities available through Google+ Hangout. The conversation will be recorded, and - with the participants’ permissions - uploaded and shared online to underline the positive effects of how conversations between the children of former foes can prove constructive.
"The more that families can talk openly about their experiences, recognise the challenges they face in common and share positive ways of overcoming them, the better," says Michael Hughesman, principal educational psychologist at MOD agency Service Children’s Education (SCE).
Tony Banks meets onetime foe, Omar Rene Tabarez
Tony Banks explains: "When we arrived in The Falklands, we had never spoken to an Argentine before, and the kids that the junta sent to fight had never seen or met a Brit prior to their reaching the islands. Technology has evolved offering opportunities now that were unavailable then, and it made sense to me to try to start dialogue and discussion between those young people who are also affected by the legacy of the 1982 conflict – the children of veterans. These conversations are not meant to be political or turn into a debate on whether the Falklands should be British, but rather an attempt to bypass rhetoric of the politicians and show that we have much more in common and are better friends than enemies."
If you are the child of a veteran from 1982 conflict and are interested in participating, please contact
0044 207 221 1540 / 0044 7930 408 224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The first participants to be paired as part of the Previously Unheard / Hasta Ahora Desconocido Initiative were David Turner and María Juliana Jiménez Corbalán
David was in London and Juliana in Buenos Aires.
Some highlights of their Google+ Hangout of 16th March 2012
David: My father always said the Argentine forces were very brave, he said it was very hard … you are fighting a war… but when you meet the person face to face, it is difficult to realise you have been shooting each other hours before.
Juliana: Here, my generation, they don’t really know anything about the conflict, they know there was a war and we lost… I have a lot of friends reading about the veterans here, and they have a lot of respect for the British.
… we think that there are people in Britain who didn’t really know that they had this island in the South, here in the news they say that the British didn’t even know they own this island, now talking to you I realise that it is important. So we have a lot of things in common, and here, the young people don’t have a problem with the British.
David: : “It is important that both sides recognise that the veterans who fought are heroes… and above all else, from my generation we need to learn to settle the future differences peacefully and as friends rather than going to war.”
Juliana: “We have a lot of things in common; I think we both agree that our fathers are heroes and that the veterans of the other side are great people”
David Turner, 24, London
His father, Terence Turner, fought in the Falklands conflict as Operations Officer in T Battery 12 Air Defence Regiment in defence of the landings at San Carlos. He met David’s mother shortly after the War in 1983 who was serving as a Nurse on board SS Uganda where it was operating as a Troop Ship docked in Port Stanley.
David lived in the Falkland’s in 1997-1998 whilst his father served as the civilian/military liaison officer.
David works as a marine cargo account handler for Miller Insurance Services an insurance broker which operates internationally and at Lloyd's.
Maria Juliana Jimenez Corbalan, 21, Buenos Aires
Her father, Lautaro Jose Jimenez Corbalan, belonged to "B" Company, 4th Infantry Regiment and was a 2nd Lieutenant in charge of 45 men.
Juliana is now studying to be an English translator.