Remarks by H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw on the Occasion of the Official Handover of Locks of Hair Belonging to Emperor Tewodros II

20 Mar 2019

Remarks by H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw
Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sport

National Army Museum, London
Wednesday, 20 March 2019

 

 

Brigadier Justin Maciejewski,

Ambassador Fesseha Shawel,

Your Grace Abune Gorgorios,

Honourable Guests,

Fellow Ethiopians, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

ጤናይስጥልኝ

I bring you warm greetings, thanks and appreciation from the Government and People of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

It is a source of good fortune, and indeed pride, for me to stand before you today to receive the remains of one of Ethiopia’s most beloved and admired Emperors.

On this occasion, I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the National Army Museum, and its Board of Trustees, for the brave and principled decision to return the Emperor’s hair to its rightful home, and very much hope that the United Kingdom and Ethiopia will be able to build on this supreme gesture of goodwill in the years to come.

The hand-over of the locks of hair of Emperor Tewodros II, comes at a time when his vision and ideals of creating a united and strong Ethiopia have been resurrected.

The Maqdala Expedition of 1868 represents an unsavoury chapter in the, otherwise, glorious history shared by our great nations.

For us, Great Britain has never been considered a fair-weather friend, the British have stood by our side during our best and worst days. While we continue to recall with sadness the events of the Maqdala Expedition of 1868, so too, do we recall with great affection the memorable sacrifices British troops made, under the command of General Wingate and Colonel Sandford, during Ethiopia’s War of Liberation.

The history our great nations share and the spirit of partnership which underpins our relationship enables a level of honesty and frankness in all of our dialogue. Therefore, I would be remiss in my duty, not to take this opportunity to call on all museums and collectors, including the National Army Museum, who retain Maqdala heritage in their collections, to finally right this injustice of history by returning all Maqdala artefacts to their rightful home.

Even your Prime Minister, William Gladstone, speaking in 1871, rightly deplored what had taken place there and argued that the treasures should never have been brought to Britain in the first place.

In fact, for Ethiopians, these are not simply artefacts or treasures but constitute a fundamental part of the existential fabric of Ethiopia and its people.

In our history, we share a number of common experiences we can draw on when courageously confronting the case for restitution today. For example, King George the Fifth returned one of the silver crowns of Emperor Tewodros to Ras Teferi Mekonnen in 1924. Similarly, 1965 saw the return of Emperor Tewodros’s seal and cap as well as another crown during the state visit to Ethiopia of Queen Elizabeth the second. More recently, restitutions from private collectors here in the UK have led to the return of a replica arc, an amulet belonging to Emperor Tewodros II and a number of sacred manuscripts.

May I conclude by urging all concerned to consider the intrinsic value of the items in their collections which are of far greater significance to Ethiopians than to those who removed them.

Whatever the future holds, I have no doubt that the relationship between our two countries will continue to go from strength to strength. A fact underlined by the substance and spirit of today’s ceremony.

Finally, may I offer my thanks and appreciation, once again, for the hospitality and generosity myself, my delegation and our community in London have been afforded today. As you will see in the coming days and weeks, the Ethiopian people will rejoice at the homecoming of a humble vestige of one of their most popular heroes. An act, that will offer further proof of the high esteem in which Emperor Tewodros, to this day, continues to be held.

I thank you.

አመሰግናለው

Latest News

Browse all
Ambassador Teferi responds to the 17th January 2021 article in the Telegraph titled, “Churches and mosques in Tigray 'vandalised and looted' in Ethiopian purge.” - “The facts on the ground are entirely detached from the situation painted herein by TPLF affiliates and those fooled by their campaign of misinformation.
22 Jan 2021
Statement to The Telegraph
Amid the rapid rise in infections attributed to the spread of a new variant of COVID-19 across the United Kingdom, a new national lockdown was announced on 4 January 2021 to control the spread of the virus. Effective immediately, all appointment-based consular and diaspora services are suspended, until further notice.
5 Jan 2021
Service Update: Our Approach to the new lockdown restrictions
"Rising Ethiopia" በሚል መሪ ቃል ከዲሴምበር 20 ቀን 2020 እስከ ፌብርዋሪ 21 ቀን 2021 ኢትዮጵያ አገራችን በቱሪዝም፣ በንግድ  እና በኢንቨስትመንት መስኮች ያሏትን እምቅ ሀብቶች ለአለም አቀፉ ማህበረሰብ የሚያስተዋውቅ የማህበራዊ ሚዲያ ዘመቻ በዩኬ ነዋሪ በሆኑት ዶ/ር በላቸው ተስፋ ሀሳብ አመንጪነት፣ በውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር አስተባባሪነትና በባህልና ቱሪዝም ሚኒስቴር፣ በቱሪዝም ኢትዮጵያ፣ በኢትዮጵያ ኢንቨስትመንት ኮሚሽን እንዲሁም በሁሉም አገራት ባሉ የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲዎች ተሳትፎ የተጀመረ ሲሆን…
4 Jan 2021
የዳያስፖራ ቢዝነስ ሳምንት
It has been two months since the TPLF clique has launched its onslaught on the Ethiopian Defence Forces stationed in Mekelle. What they call ‘a pre-emptive lightning’ attack has unveiled the true nature of the group both to the international community and the people of Ethiopia.
1 Jan 2021
The law enforcement operation in Tigray and the media: Lessons learnt
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that the national elections will be held on 5th June 2021. The elections were postponed from 29th August 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
29 Dec 2020
2021 Elections to be held in June
When I took office as Prime Minister of Ethiopia in April 2018, I had only one driving mission for my premiership – to put my country and people on a path to lasting peace and prosperity. I vowed to myself, my family and my people, that I would never resort to force as a way of resolving internal political differences.
24 Dec 2020
Operations to Restore Law and Order in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region: How Did We Get Here?
With parts of the UK now under tougher COVID-19 restrictions, we have come up with some ideas to keep you busy and make the most of the ‘stay at home’ order… from cooking to virtual marathons and new books, we have you covered.
21 Dec 2020
#STAYATHOME: THINGS TO DO
On behalf of diplomats and staff members at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, and my family, and I would like to extend our very best wishes on the advent of Christmas and the New year to the Ethiopian community and friends of Ethiopia in the United Kingdom.
21 Dec 2020
Festive Message from the Ambassador
Ethiopian Airlines Group, the largest Aviation Group in Africa, received an award from Airbus, the largest aircraft manufacturer, for the unique agility and resilience it displayed amid the global COVID-19 crisis.
17 Dec 2020
Ethiopian Airlines receive Airbus award for Agility and Resilience During the global COVID–19 Pandemic
On 12th December, global climate leaders took a major stride towards a resilient, net-zero emissions future, presenting ambitious new commitments, urgent actions and concrete plans to confront the climate crisis. Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed, addressed the Summit.
16 Dec 2020
PM Abiy addresses Climate Ambition Summit