The campaign to return
This upset Prime Minister Meles. He was not going to stand by as the Italian government waffled about returning
Contrived and erratic bouts of indignation, Mr. Prime Minister?
"During my stay in
"It made me very sad to see the obelisk humiliated, tied up with rope," he said.
Strong words that… Oh. I’m sorry. You’re not done with caricatural objurgation?? Do go on, Mr. Prime Minister.
"In 55 years,
"Today the government says it wants to restore it. But we're afraid this is just another excuse," he added.
"We just want to put an end to this story and turn over a new leaf. I feel more frustrated than angry," the prime minister said.
Ah, yes, feelings.
So the first part of the obelisk was returned on
One year later… well, let’s just say we might need those priests back to sprinkle more holy water on the obelisk ‘coz it is refusing to erect itself back in its rightful place. Damn Italians. Probably put a hex on it because…
Nearly a year after a triumphant return home, three pieces of
Hm. Earlier we were told that the obelisk would be erected in September 2005, after the rainy season. But let’s not quibble about dates.
For Ethiopians who watched the three granite pieces flown home to cheers and cries of joy nearly seven decades after the national treasure was taken to Rome, that is almost inexcusable.
"Unless it is erected, if it lies there, what purpose does it serve for the people?" pensioner Wolde Rufael Asfaw asked.
Picky. Picky. Picky. It’s not tied in ropes humiliating the prime minister, that’s what it’s not doing. But people need so much these days.
Some accuse the government of indifference - or more cynically, of ignoring the obelisk after using it for pre-election propaganda. Others argue re-erecting it will endanger untold archaeological treasures at the site or be too difficult to carry out correctly.
Pre-election propaganda? By the Ethiopian government? Damn those anti-peace, imperial revanchist, chauvinist rejectionists. Always with the cynicism.
Patience, say the Ethiopian government committee and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in charge of putting it back up.
Now this is just me, and you know how I get about these kind of things… but since this was so important to Ethiopia and Ethiopians, since this was a matter of Ethiopian pride, history and reclaiming heritage stolen by Europeans… would it have made sense to… what is it called… actually do homework about how to best erect the obelisk, um, before the obelisk was returned? Did it occur to somebody in the Ethiopian government that it would actually need to erect the obelisk so that when
Tadele Bitul Kibrat, a private-sector structural engineer on the obelisk committee, is fast to dispute the contention that the re-erection is too hard for today's engineers.
"If 2 000 years ago our ancestors could erect it, to say it cannot be erected in the 21st century with modern knowledge is stupid," Tadele said.
The obelisk will be erected “sometime towards the end of 2006,” we are told by UNESCO. There’s not much update from the Ethiopian government on this.
Maybe in April 2010?
p.s. Some real good advice to Ethiopian women married to Ethiopian men… plan your pregnancies around FIFA. Really. Trust me on this.