March 3, 2005
A small sad note amidst all the celebrations over the imminent return of Ethiopia's looted obelisk.
Edinburgh University - the place where I studied - has just refused to return four manuscripts in its collection that were looted during the British invasion of Ethiopia in 1868. The refusal came despite a string of requests from academics, "ordinary" Ethiopians and senior politicians.
Read all about it here on the website of AFROMET - the Association for the Return of the Maqdala Ethiopian Treasures.
The saddest thing for me was Edinburgh's quote that "It is the considered view of the University that conservation of the documents is of primary concern." The implication is clear. Africans are not capable of looking after their own national treasures. Some colonial attitudes take a long time to die.
Posted by aheavens at March 3, 2005 4:02 AM
Of course they aren't capable! Why would the University send documents that are important to both the Somali people and humanity in general back to be destroyed through lack of care or sold off by some corrupt government official. If the government can't provide working electricity service and running water, how qualified do you think they are to handle these documents? You are full of crap to think it is a "colonial attitude" - it's just a statement of fact.
Posted by: Asdf at March 5, 2005 11:56 PM
I answer this point in the comments to the post about the returned Ethiopian manuscripts here - http://www.meskelsquare.com/archives/2005/02/a_miraculous_re_1.html
Posted by: Andrew at March 6, 2005 4:33 AM