On May 4th 1982, british tabloid The Sun published the legendary front page “GOTCHA”.

On May 4th 2013, british tabloid The Sun took out a full page advert in an Argentinian newspaper warning president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to keep her “hands off” the Falkland Islands.  Consequently British flags and newspapers are burned in Buenos Aires and diplomatic relations become even more strained between the two nations.

February 2010 while cross country skiing in the Norwegian mountains, news from the BBC had a quick mention of a man who started the Falkland War. An idea was born, and after extensive research we got hold of the right person.

August 2011 we finally had a coffee with him in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Many who lost their lives, countless more had their lives destroyed because of the Falklands War between Argentina and England in 1982. Scrapmetal dealer Constantino Davidoff is one of them. Almost exactly thirty years ago, he was blamed for triggering the war. Davidoff was about to decommission a Norwegian whaling station on the island of South Georgia to sell scrap metal and secure his financial future. He had become a self-made success after decades of hard work starting at 8 when his father died.

The plan in South Georgia did not proceed at all according to plan. Because of crude political relations – on both sides of the conflict – Davidoffs expedition to South Georgia was used as an excuse to escalate a historical conflict over the ownership of Falkand Islands known still as the Malvinas in Argentina.

On 19 March 1982 Daviddffs expedition landed on South Georgia. Two weeks later, the Falklands War in full swing.

The war lasted 74 days, approximately a thousand people died and the war had long-term political consequences: Britain’s superior win consolidated Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s position of power,  The crushing defeat of Argentina was the beginning of the end for the military junta in Buenos Aires.

For Constantino Davidoff the war changed everything. After he was blamed and lost the millions invested in South Georgia, depression chained him to bed and he went bankrupt.

Davidoff lost everything. He lost his wife, money, ships and aircraft. The past thirty years he has exhausted himself in an effort to clear his name and earn enough money to support his family. The now retired scrap dealer who had a small but important role in world history, is still working every day.

“You know, they say that people are supposed to work 30 years of their lives. I have worked for 60 years. I do not have the energy to continue much longer.” – Constantino Davidoff

When we met him in a coffee-shop in the working class neighborhood of Avellaneda he had agreed to meet us for a few hours. A prompt and chain-smoking man. Correct and polite in all manners. Five days later we had spent most of our waking hours with this  man hardened by history. When our time was over and flights awaited, Constantino Davidoff surprisingly chose to hug us goodbye while tears ran down his cheeks.

The story is available through the archive via this link.

Photo by Eivind Natvig/Moment