By Sunday Okobi
Renowned writer and activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie instructed European powers to banish the ghost from their infamous colonial past and return the arts (artefacts), especially spiritual objects, stolen from Africa, Asia and America. Latin still in their possession.
She sent a strong message to European governments in a thought-provoking speech that rocked social media, which was delivered at the opening of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Germany, last week.
His speech was not only greeted with enthusiastic applause by the Berlin audience, but also resonates around the world as one of his “best speeches to date!”
The Humboldt Forum is a state-of-the-art museum complex that displays collections of African, Asian and non-European art in a partial replica of a Prussian palace that was demolished by the Communist government in East Germany after World War II .
Among the items allegedly stolen are the famous Benin bronzes, which were looted from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin by the British colonial expedition in 1897.
Adichie called on Germany and other European countries in possession of stolen artifacts to return them.
In her stimulating speech, she said: âObviously I don’t think everything should be sent back to the countries they come from. Not everything was stolen, but those things that are sacred. These things that people were killed for. These things that have the stain of innocent blood should be returned. “
While congratulating Germany for agreeing to return objects from British museums, the author of âHalf a Yellow Sunâ said it was the right thing to do.
Adichie said: âAll countries have parts of their history that they are not proud of. A nation that believes in the rule of law cannot debate whether or not to return stolen property. It just sends them back.
She also called for more conversations with Europe about restoring their past because âthis speech is not just about the Humboldt Forum. These are museums all over Europe including the Vatican, Great Britain and others.
The Nigerian author also demanded that German schoolchildren learn more about the country’s colonial past, adding: âWe cannot change the past but we can change our blindness to the past.
Echoing the writer’s views on colonialism and the return of stolen artifacts to Africa and elsewhere, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged Germany to confront its colonial past.
Steinmeier said: âThe injustice committed by Germany during colonial times must concern all of us, all of society. Especially the countries of Africa, which lost an immense part of their arts during the raids of the Europeans.