E-Mail Messages on the Return of the Axum Obelisk
Following is a small selection of many e-mail messages reaching Professor Richard Pankhurst on the Return of the Axum Obelisk:
Seyoum Bereded, London, England: This is to congratulate you on the successful campaign result which brought back the Axum Obelisk from Italy. I wish I was there to witness this one of the great milestone events in the history of Ethiopia.... I would like to congratulate AFROMET on this commendable job.
Labanca, Siena, Italy: These are wonderful days for people like you and
Angelo Del Boca who
struggled for years and decades, for having the obelisk back to Axum
Imani I Kali Nyah, Chicago, USA: I was so happy to read about the Obelisk, your years of hard work finally came to a good end; I have learnt from you to hold fast to what you believe in even though sometimes all the odds may be against you.
Danny Aeberhard, London, England: MANY, MANY CONGRATULATIONS on having the Obelisk safe and sound back in Ethiopia! A wonderful conclusion to the many years of dedicated campaigning that you've put in.
Belai Abbai, Washington DC, USA: We all know that you did it single-handedly even though you finally got the support of the international group.
Enugu, Nigeria: How exciting it is to be able to send you my congratuations
on the return of the Axum Obelisk. My
family join me in this. I can imagine that the reception for it must be overwhelming pride and joy in Addis Ababa.
Walter North, Washington DC, USA Congratulations. This must be a wonderful day for you and Ethiopia.
Gordon Ellens, Santa Monica, USA: Congrats on the retrieval of all the three parts of the Axum stele
Zaude Hailemariam, Kista, Sweden: Please join me in congratulating Richard for succeeding in retrieving the Axum Obelisk... The cultural object ironically gained greatly enhanced cultural value and global fame, from its predicament!
Irene Cockroft, London, England: We were delighted to read in the press that the Axum Obilisk is its way to re-instatement in Ethiopia. All your pressure over the years has paid off at last
George Pavlu, Auchenflower, Australia: Heartfelt congratulations are appropiate on the success of the worthy cause that you have vigorously and so elequently championed. So, a greatwrong has finally been righted and with the one section kissing home soil, one can confidently assume that the Axum Obelisk, after more than half a century of solitary confinement under Mediterranean sunshine (interspersed with occasional lightning bolts ) can justly take up its rightful career in its birthplace as one of the centerpieces of Ethiopian cultural heritage.
And moreover, as you astutely noted, from here on in, that can be no moral/legal/cultually based campaign for the restitution of 'looted' cultural artefacts without first and foremost prefacing their claim with the example of the case of the Axum Obelisk, clearly the weightiest loot ever to be repatriated.
Undoubtedly its return will herald a deserved outpouring of Ethiopian national pride, and be assured I am there in spirit - sipping of course from a glass of icy amber St George.
All the very best, and with one big tick on the board, I can guess that its onwards and upwards, and I can already feel the Magdala loot trembling in General Napier's boots
Aberra Molla, Littleton, Colorado, USA: I am writing this email to say thank you for your unrelenting persistence that Italy return the Axum Obelisk to Ethiopia. I read about the arrival of one of the three pieces today from Rome in an Antonov Russian airplane.
I remember your struggle for its return and the hardship you went through. Even those of us who tried to help were insulted. Do you remember the email I forwarded to you which I received from the secretary of the Italian Embassy in Addis? When I cornered him with the option that I am about to launch raising funds to pay for the cost of returning the obelisk to Ethiopia, he got mad and wrote back that I should raise money for the starving Ethiopians instead. After all, it was the Italians who told you that they had no money. I backed off because you suggested that the Italians would ultimately give in.
As for the email I wrote to a few US senators about helping with the cargo plane instead of using the Iraqi war as an excuse, I did not receive response from any of them and even the office of the President ignored it. I assumed that the pieces were too heavy for the American planes.
Once again, THANKS!
Marie Bartlee, Kentfield, California, USA: Congratulations!! An article in today's San Francisco Chronicle described the return of the first portion of the obelisk from Rome to Axum. You were also quoted. I am so happy for you and hope this will inspire others to return your treasures. If you would like me to snail mail you the article, let me know by e-mail. n