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Author Topic: Ethiopian Obelisk  (Read 2074 times)

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Ethiopian Obelisk
« on: December 23, 2004, 02:51:53 AM »

Italy prepares to return prized Ethiopian obelisk

Tuesday November 16th, 2004

By Shasta Darlington

ROME, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Italy is close to ending a nearly 70-year-old feud with Ethiopia by returning one of its most cherished relics, the obelisk of Axum, taken by fascist invaders.

The 24-metre obelisk, believed to be at least 2,000 years old, was split into three and hauled off when Italy under dictator Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1937.

Final details of a plan to transport the 200-tonne granite column from Rome to the holy city of Axum are expected to be discussed when Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi meets Italian officials on Thursday and Friday.

Ethiopia has had to build an airstrip to receive the obelisk, the most important symbol of the dawn of Ethiopian civilisation, and a road to take it to a pit in the centre of town.

"Talks are in the final phase, there are just a few things to check, like whether the road is ready," an Italian government source said.

Government and diplomatic sources said the obelisk could be loaded on to an airplane before Christmas and at the very latest before the Ethiopian rainy season starts in April.

Asked about the road and airstrip, Eshetu Yisma, at the embassy in Rome, said: "From the Ethiopian side everything is ready. They are just agreeing on details on both sides."

But after more than half a century of promises, Ethiopians can be forgiven for being sceptical.

After the fall of Mussolini and his nascent Italian "empire", Rome signed an accord in 1947 agreeing to return stolen relics and art works to Ethiopia.

Another accord was signed in 1956 and another in 1997, but the obelisk with its geometric designs remained in Rome, in front of what had been the Ministry of Italian Africa.

Two years ago, Ethiopia threatened to sever diplomatic ties, eliciting a fresh pledge.

Nature also gave a helping hand. Lightning damaged the obelisk in the same year, spurring Italian authorities to begin dismantling the column.

It was carefully taken apart but ended up in airport storage due to logistical obstacles that have delayed its return by more than a year.

Italy had removed the monument by ship, but the only convenient port now lies in Eritrea, unfriendly to Ethiopia.

So authorities have had to build the airstrip and road, and find an airplane that can handle the obelisk, whose heaviest section weighs over 80 tonnes.

A national holiday has been promised for the day it is finally returned home.

"Until the obelisk is returned to Ethiopia, Mussolini will be laughing at us from his grave," said Richard Pankhurst, a British historian living in Addis Ababa who has led the demands for the return of Ethiopian treasures.

(Additional reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse in Addis Ababa).



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Re: Ethiopian Obelisk
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2004, 12:34:59 PM »


Great read even though you are a little late with the story. The hault of ethiopia has been trying to return to ET for years. And it hasn't been the Italians that have been holding up the process. It was the pope! That gay bastard, been twistin and turning any way to keep the hault of axum. And the elements been striking the hault in Italy a long time now and sacring the people of italy for a while now. Its good to return the hault back to its rightful place.

Ankh Udja Sneb


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