Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Ethiopia kept waiting for obelisk

The long-awaited return to Ethiopia of the third century Axum obelisk from Italy has again been delayed - this time "indefinitely".

The first piece was due on Wednesday but the Italian culture ministry says Axum airport does not have radar, so the pilots must wait for good weather.

Italy has promised to send back the artefact looted in 1937 but the return has already been put back twice. The 160-tonne pillar has been broken into three pieces to ease transport.

"The return of the obelisk was delayed due to technical and logistical problems beyond our control and we therefore apologise to all those who had been invited to attend the arrival of the obelisk on 13 April," said Ethiopia's culture ministry.

No new date had been given for the arrival of the first piece of the 24 metre monument. The other two pieces had been due by the end of the month.
For the sake of recognition of the greatness of African civilizations of Antiquity, I believe the return of the Axum Obelisk is a crucial step. It is also a step in Europeans recognizing, and hopefully internalizing the depth of the negative effects their ancestors - and some of their present-day contemporaries - have had on former colonies/occupied lands.

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