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"we don't need food aid anymore, we need our heritage home!" said the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the FAO in 1995. The determination of the Ethiopian authorities led to an agreement with the Italian government in 1998: the Aksum Obelisk was going to be send back home.

 

The two parties faced a new problem: who would pay the trip? Of course, the Ethiopian government could not pay, the Italians accepted. How could the 150 tons monument could be brought back? There is no carrier able to transport such a weight but the Antonov (this big Ukrainian plane with an opening nose) or maybe some American military planes.

 

Unfortunately, a new border conflict between Ethiopia and Erithrea (the war was few dozens kilometers from Aksum itself) started in1998 and delayed the plans. In 2000, resuming this absurd trench warfare (it killed more people than the 30 years civil war), the Ethiopian authorities started to prospect for a new carrier. American had accepted but in 2003 informed the Ethiopians that all their planes were affected to Iraq. So the Antonov option was still the best. Ironically, the planes and the pilots were the same as the guns transporters that came in the Aksum tarmac during the wars.

 

In 2005, after almost 70 years, 3 wars, 2 famines (how many people died?), the Obelisk arrived in 3 pieces (it left in 5 pieces) in Aksum. Huge celebrations celebrations have been organised to welcome the returning national glory. And now who's going to pay for the re-erection? And what to do with such a big thing?

 

 

See where this picture was taken. [?][?](in the real middle of nowhere, and this just to see all the 'attractions' of Aksum. And of course to escape the horrible city of nostalgy. But on the google earth I've just discovered there's a dry dam-barrage just behind where I was (dry barrage because of misconception we shall talk about it once). How can we know what is behind where we are if we already have the feeling to be at the end of the world. Well curiosity. It's like that Colombus discovered America, VAsco de Gama the way to India, Godard the Nouvelle Vague, etc.)(moreover I went by bike, I felt and broke 2 ribs)

 

 

 

 

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Taken on February 1, 2008