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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2007, 02:14 GMT 03:14 UK
Falklands enemies meet at last
By Jack Izzard
BBC News


Esteban Pino, Mike Seear, Juan Casanegra and German Estrada
Left to right: Esteban Pino, Mike Seear, Juan Casanegra and German Estrada
This Monday marks the 25th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. More than 900 British and Argentine soldiers died in the war which followed.

Many of those who survived suffered emotional problems as a result. The BBC News website followed one of them as he went in search of his former enemies.

As he strolls through the busy streets of Buenos Aires, Mike Seear is every inch the retired British army officer.

The buttons on his blazer gleam. His regimental tie is knotted in a neat half-windsor.

Twenty-five years ago, he fought for Queen and country in the Falklands.

Now he has come to Argentina on a journey of reconciliation.

'Closely connected'

"I really get a tremendous amount out of meeting the 'other side' - people that I was once trying to fight and kill."

Mike suffered post traumatic stress after the war. He hopes that by sharing his experiences with other veterans, they will be able to heal their psychological wounds together.

But often these reunions can be very painful.

He is close to tears as he meets Esteban, Juan and German; three Argentine soldiers who fought him at Tumbledown, one of the war's most infamous battles.

Cenotaph
The Malvinas cenotaph in Buenos Aires commemorates Argentines who died

They were artillery gunners who bombarded Mike's unit as it approached.

"Two of the shells they fired landed within 10 metres of me. But they were both duds.

"If they had exploded, there's no way I would be here, meeting them today.

"I've never met two people so closely connected to my life in the war. It's a really emotional moment."

Many of the soldiers who survived the fighting were deeply emotionally scarred. Mike's three new friends were too ashamed to talk about their wartime experiences for 24 years.

But today they can laugh and joke with their former enemy.

He may have defeated them on the battlefield, but now he is helping them defeat their inner demons.




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