I am writing this before England V Argentina in the World Cup.

It's a funny thing - enmity. I really never understood what England felt about Argentina. I knew about the Falklands War in the early 1980s of course. But I didn't think anyone took it seriously.

All those years ago, how I understood it from the perspective of Australia and as a teenager, was that England was just bullying Argentine. It seemed like an act of colonial aggression - the Falklands being so far from Britain and really just some windswept islands off Argentina. (I now understand their economic and strategic importance...)

The jokes that were around at the time implied that Maggie Thatcher only went to war as a political ploy to prop up her approval rating for the up-coming general election. That's pretty much how I've understood it ever since. I never really imagined that English people see Argentinians as 'the enemy'. But they do, in a way. And it's a feeling I am distanced from. I don't understand it, on any level.

One of the strange things when a person immigrates is that they are compelled by the dominant culture to take on 'the nation's enemies'. I remember how weird it was when I first arrived and having to acquire a new set of 'enemies' and prejudices. For instance, being Irish(-descent) here in England is a pretty maligned state - whereas in Australia, it's one of the cool, 'non-ethnic' ethnicities. Part of 'acclimatising' to living in England, was learning to understand peculiar english hatred and national prejudices. I thought I had...

<< | >>