There's been a lot of news lately out of the Falkland Islands which, as we all knew without checking Wikipedia, are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located over 250 nautical miles east of the coast of mainland South America. Both Great Britain and Argentina have claimed sovereignty over the Islands since the 1830s, and the two nations fought a ten-week war to defend their claims in 1982. As that conflict's 30th anniversary draws near, international tensions are running high.
...Which is why some Argentinians are upset that Prince William was deployed to the territory earlier this week in his capacity as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot. Though the British government has stated it is routine procedure for pilots to spend training time in the Islands, the Argentine foreign minister issued a statement that the Duke of Cambridge arrived "with the uniform of a conqueror," and labeled his presence "an act of provocation." Protesters in Buenos Aires have branded William the very romantic-sounding "Pirate Prince."
In response to the Prince's visit, the Argentine government has threatened to stop all flights from Chile from reaching the Falkland Islands, cutting-off their only air link with South America, as well as blocking their main connection to the outside world. British officials have accused Argentina of plotting this move as an economic blockade, which seems just about exactly right. On the fringe side, Argentine militants have threatened to target a British-owned business in Argentina every week for the duration of the Prince's stay.
Naturally, actor and global ambassador for wool Sean Penn has invited himself into the conflict.
On Monday, Penn met with Argentine president Cristina Kirchner and rankled British feathers when he referred to the Islands by their preferred Argentine name, "the Malvinas Islands of Argentina." He also criticized Britain's claims of ownership as a
"ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology"
and, on Tuesday, accused Britain of neglecting "the great emotional sensitivity both of mothers and fathers in the United Kingdom and in Argentina" by sending Prince William into the disputed territory.
British officials are so angry, they have resorted to mild impoliteness. One member of Parliament was even quoted as saying, in response to Penn's remarks:
"A good number of his movies have been turkeys, so I suppose we shouldn't expect much better coming out of his mouth."
Despite Sean Penn's reservations, the Brits appear to have no plans to remove Prince William from his post any time soon and are, in fact, moving forward with plans for a series of celebrations commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.
What's your favorite Sean Penn movie?
[Image via Getty]