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articles about the debate
Point of no return
The Economist 07 October 04
IT IS a poor country with a rich history. Through force and unfair dealing, many of Ethiopia's historical relics have left the country. Ethiopians want to bring them home, not just to celebrate their past, but to earn tourist dollars in future.
The British Museum, its Ethiopian Tabots, and Mr Derek Wyatt MP
By Richard Pankhurst in the Addis Tribune 01 August 03
The recent looting of antiquities in Iraq has created considerable British interest in the question of loot taken in war. The question of the loot taken by the British from Maqdala in 1868 was raised at the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on 8 July 2003.
AFROMET replies to European, American museum directors
Addis Tribune 13 December 02
AFROMET, the Association for the Return of Ethiopia's Maqdala Treasures, reacted yesterday to the recent statement of European and American Museum Directors opposing the restoration of cultural artifacts to their country of origin.
Museums thwart artefact claims
BBC 9 December 2002
Some of the world's leading museums have joined forces to declare that they will not hand back ancient artefacts to their countries of origin. Directors of 18 institutions, from St Petersburg to New York, signed a declaration saying their collections act as "universal museums" for the good of the world.
Point of no return
London Evening Standard 11 April 2002
The British Museum's director is leaving, but, he insists, its treasures are staying..."I live in the museum," Dr Robert Anderson said cheerfully, explaining why he would be in situ at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning. He was not speaking metaphorically. The director of the British Museum, though few visitors realise it, has always lived above the shop in Bloomsbury.
Hand back the loot
The Guardian by Isabel Hilton 21 February 2002
Many museums are returning their ill-gotten gains. Why can't the British Museum do the same for Ethiopia?
The Elgin marbles should stay
The Guardian by Alan Howarth 5 February 2002
"To take them from our museum would impoverish the world"
Cultural Restitution by Isabel Hilton
BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves: Undercurrents 1 February 2002
What does it mean to possess an object? Is it just a thing - perhaps a thing with its own beauty - or it its story embedded in the object itself. And if that story is one of conquest, of looting or violent dispossession, what is the importance of that story to those in possession of the object? These questions lie at the heart of one of the most contentious debates in today's cultural world. Should the treasures that are housed in the West's museums be returned to their countries of origin when those countries ask for them? What are the practical and moral problems of restitution and what does it mean for those who recover them and for those who give them up.
The St John's Tabot
The Rev John McLuckie - St John's Edinburgh Jan 2002
Tewodros and the Destruction of Maqdala
Emperor Tewodros II was, by any account, as remarkable and significant a leader for modern Ethiopia as he was a complex one. He was a moderniser, a cultural champion, a successful military leader and, in his final act of resistance at Maqdala, seen as a courageous patriot. His modernising vision encompassed the abolition of slave trade, the building of a road network, literary renaissance, land reform, and a thoroughgoing series of military reforms.
Let's have our treasure back, please
The Economist 08 July 99
IT TOOK 15 elephants and 200 mules to carry off the loot from Ethiopia's old capital, Magdala. The brutal sacking of the mountain-top city in 1868, Britain's revenge on Emperor Tewodros for taking the British consul and a few other Europeans hostage, razed the city to the ground.
The treasures of Ethiopia should be put on public display
The Times Editorial 23 November 1998
On April 13, 1868, the bizarre plans of Emperor Theodore II of Abyssinia lay in tatters. His efforts to build a bulwark against Islam had been blocked by Queen Victoria, who had failed to reply to his proposals of marriage. When he had taken British hostages in order to attract her attention, the Queen had sent an army instead of a ring. Bebattled in his Magdala fortress, defeated, deranged and alone, he shot himself with a pistol, a gift from his inamorata.
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