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Subject: "Axum obelisk finally returned to Ethiopia" This topic is locked.
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Wed Apr-20-05 01:01 PM

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"Axum obelisk finally returned to Ethiopia"



... 58 years after Italy agreed to return it. They've been delaying this forever so I didn't know when they'd ever get around to it, so this is great news.

Obelisk arrives back in Ethiopia

The first section of a 1,700-year old stone obelisk looted by Italy nearly 70 years ago has arrived back in Ethiopia.

The Axum obelisk is regarded as one of Ethiopia's national religious treasures.

An Antonov plane landed on Tuesday with the middle part of the obelisk; the top and bottom should follow within a week.

Italian troops seized the obelisk in 1937 and took it to Rome, where it has remained ever since, despite a 1947 UN agreement to return it to Ethiopia.

The plane carrying the first part of the obelisk appeared over the horizon just before dawn.

A crowd of Ethiopian ministers, priests and other VIPs cheered and clapped as it landed.

1,700 years old
Weighs 160 tons
24m tall
Looted in 1937
Return costing $7.7m
Due to be re-erected in September

"I am excited, overjoyed and delighted," said Ethiopian Culture Minister Teshome Toga.

"This is a very historical moment for us, we have waited so long to have the obelisk back," he said.

Pealing bells and chanting priests could be heard from a nearby cathedral, reports the AP news agency.

The ornately decorated 24-metre (78ft) obelisk is regarded as an outstanding example of architecture from the ancient city of Axum, itself seen as one of the four great kingdoms of the ancient world.

It stood for years outside the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, despite an Italian commitment to send it back to Ethiopia.

Celebrations planned

It was eventually dismantled by Italian experts in 2004 in readiness for its journey home.

The operation is costing Italy an estimated 6m euros ($7.7m).

But the obelisk's return had been beset by "technical difficulties" and repeatedly postponed.

The most recent delay came just last week, when it was postponed "indefinitely" amid concerns that the airstrip at Axum could not handle the cargo plane.

The 160-ton monument had to be broken into three pieces.

The delay was a disappointment for Ethiopians and the country's government, which had planned a national celebration to mark the return of the obelisk.

Shortly after the obelisk's return, traditional dancers took to the streets of Axum to celebrate.

The obelisk will be re-erected after the rains in September.

Many Ethiopians see the obelisk as a vital national symbol, and the prospect of its return stirs strong emotions.

Abebe Alenayehu, 81, watched Italian troops seize the obelisk from Axum, but never expected to be alive to witness its return.

"The memory still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"Every day for the last 67 years I have thought about the obelisk."

Steel bars

Lattanzi, the Italian company responsible for transporting the obelisk to Axum, has described the obelisk as the largest, heaviest object ever transported by air.

Heaters were installed in the plane to protect the monument from freezing air temperatures.

The obelisk was wrapped in steel bars to stabilise it in case of turbulence during the six-hour flight, Lattanzi director Simone Pietero told AP.

In addition, the airstrip at Axum had to be upgraded to handle the vast Antonov-124 aircraft, and radar was installed.

Nurse Roberts: She googled your ass.

Dr. Kelso: Don't you use your street lingo on me!


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Axum obelisk finally returned to Ethiopia [View all] , 40thStreetBlack, Wed Apr-20-05 01:01 PM
Subject Author Message Date ID
This is damn near anchor worthy. Terrific. I'll read this lata
Apr 20th 2005
yeah, this is a really big deal for Ethiopia
Apr 21st 2005
that's a mighty fine obelisk right there
Apr 20th 2005
this means so much, but this really got me...
Apr 20th 2005
RE: this means so much, but this really got me...
Apr 20th 2005
Apr 21st 2005
yeah, Italy only agreed to return it under a post-WWII UN agreement
Apr 21st 2005
      yeah, why 58 years specifically?
Apr 22nd 2005
           their excuse was that transporting the obelisk would damage it
Apr 22nd 2005
The British?
Apr 21st 2005
      the British have TONS more stuff than the Italians, or anyone else
Apr 21st 2005
yeah, that made me think of how my grandmother must feel
Apr 21st 2005
Apr 21st 2005
           she doesn't speak English & I don't speak Tigrinya or Amharic
Apr 21st 2005
                cool!!! thanks n/m
Apr 22nd 2005
Apr 22nd 2005
hooray for the return of AquamansWrath's big, black cock
Apr 23rd 2005
i recently chaperoned a field trip to DC for 5th graders (including
Apr 24th 2005

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