Moving the Axum Obelisk- Italians returning WWII Possession


One response to “Moving the Axum Obelisk- Italians returning WWII Possession

  1. I am a member of The Axum Obelisk Return Committee. With its return, Ethiopia and Italy demonstrated to humanity that reconciliation is not only possible, but an essential element in world peace. While the obelisk is a symbol of that peace and reconciliation, it is an important one. To Ethiopians, it is as important to their national identity as the Statue of Liberty is to Americans. With that said, the work of reconciliation between Ethiopia and Italy is an ongoing and constant process. More important than the return of any material items is the need to remember the victims of the conflicts between Ethiopia and Italy beginning with Italian colonization of Eritrea as well as atrocities in World War II such as the 1937 Graziani Massacre in which over 30,000 people were murdered in 3 days time by the Italian Fascists. As the grandson of an Italian colonist during World War II, I believe it is our duty to remember these victims and war crimes so that they are never repeated and so that the truth is told in order to heal our world for lasting peace. I am proud to be Italian for our efforts at peace in this uncertain and hateful time. The Italian and Ethiopian people deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1997, the Italian President at the time, Luigi Scalfaro, formerly apologized for Italian war crimes and agression on an official visit to Ethiopia.
    Your title “Underdogs and Optimists” fits well. Those who seek peace and harmony are always the underdogs and optimists and we must understand that it is possible and within our reach to have peace. When I first became involved in The Axum Obelisk Return Committee, it was 1996 and I was traveling to Ethiopia for the first time in my life. As the grandson of an Italian colonist, I was not sure if I would be welcomed by the Ethiopians and Eritreans gathered at the conference I was invited to. Yet, they treated me like a long lost cousin. Which, in fact we all are. On this earth every human being is family. From that point, I inquired amonga few people as to the status of the Axum Obelisk and from there was invited to be a part of an international campaign to have it returned culminating in 2008 in its restoration in its home, Axum.
    As many of you know, Axum is the home of The Queen of Sheba, ancient civilizations including a Jewish Kingdom, the place where Ehtiopians claim the Arc of the Covenenant still rests and the birth place of modern Ethiopia and Eritrea. In our work to restore the Axum Obelisk, the UNESCO team also uncovered long forgotten underground burial areas of Axum royalty. Peace means prosperity and the Italian and Ethiopian people now have the strongest trade and diplomatic relations ever.

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