Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 20

Memorandum submitted by the Ethiopian World Federation Incorporated

  The EWF, Inc, was established in 1937 by constitution, in New York City. We have enclosed for your records a copy of our aims and objectives[37]. Our claim concerns the property looted from the Ethiopian Church on the 13 April 1868, by the British, under the command of General Sir Robert Napier. The facts of this case are well documented on public record.

  For the purpose of your Committee's inquiry we have sent for your attention a copy of an article from The Times dated 21 November 1998 entitled "Britain urged to return loot"[38].

  We have enclosed two documents that reinforce our case[39]:

    1.  House of Commons 20 February 1871

    2.  Abyssinian War Prize Debate 30 June 1871 (See Hansard)

  It seems to us that the opinion of Mr Gladstone, Prime Minister at the time of the Abyssinian War Prize Debate, still has bearing on the work of your Committee. The facts of this case have been well established, The Guardian newspaper in an article values the property at over £3 billion sterling at current prices.

  Without prejudice to the claim of the Ethiopian Government and Church. The Constitution of Ethiopian World Federation, Inc represents the interest of the Black peoples of the World. We hereby submit that our community here in England and the rest of the world have not been educated to our spiritual and cultural heritage; of the looted manuscripts 550 are in England, can the Committee advise us which of these are suitable for education in schools?

  How many members of the Committee have seen these manuscripts and their translations? How many Committee members are aware of this case? Is the Committee aware that the Royal Chronicles of Ethiopia are in England today?

  Queen Victoria returned one copy of "the Kebra Nagast Chronicle of Queen of Sheba", to Emperor Yohannes. In 1924 His Majesty King George returned the Throne of Emperor Theodore, and in 1965 Queen Elizabeth II, returned the Royal Cap and Seal. The book of "Dengal Maryam", the Mother of Jesus Christ, is in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.

  We would be willing to submit further written or oral evidence to help your Committee.

March 2000


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