Emmanuel Macron promised to restore the stolen African heritage during colonization. He is doing it. And he wants he knows. That is why he has organized a restitution ceremony to Benin of the Treasure of the Kingdom of Abomey, the first of this calling in Europe. Twenty-six pieces that are exposed for the last time at the Quai Branly Museum of the French capital.
Among them there are three statues, half man, animal half that represent the last three monarchs. King Tiburón returns to the land of him. Béhanzin chose that animal as protection against the French. Sharks (and giant waves) actually protected the cotonou bar, making it difficult for the european ships. But the myth could not stop the Lebel rifles ...
Macron, in an emotional discourse, finished in a low voice, looking at the Foreign Ministers and Tourism of Benin, explained that the sense of restitution did not "was renationalize the art" of each African nation but "universalize the heritage" and "do it Accessible to all ". Then revealed that his words were an appointment from a former Director General of UNESCO, the Senegalese Amadou Mahtar M'Bow, author in the 70s of a controversial New World Order Project that sought to rebalance in favor of Third World the weight of The great Western information agencies.
On Wednesday the day was not for controversies but for words of love between France and Africa. If Macron spoke of "Dentering our gaze and converging with African Vision," Benin's Foreign Minister, Aurelien Agbenonci, "greeted Macron's commitment to rewrite the relationship with Africa" and called "Refounder text" his speech of Ouagadougou. in which he promised to return the African heritage acquired illegitimately.
Macron highlighted the scientific work carried out on the restored works as well as others by restoring and the fact that it is made in cooperation with African researchers. He also glosted the French contribution in the construction of the museum that will be lifted in Abomey to house the treasures now transferred and whose provisional destination will be the strong Portuguese of Ouidaj. Macron and the president of Benin, Patrice Talon, will sign the transfer documents in the Elyseus within two weeks.
The Kingdom of Danhomè or Dahomey has its origin around 1600. Centralized and with a powerful army formed by men and women (that the French called Amazonas) conquers the neighboring Kingdom of Ouidah in 1727. The chronology of the sample speaks piously of the "beginning of the Trade with Westerners ". But in the book "Images of Dahomey", on sale at the library of the museum, it is explained that "Since then, Dahomey became the main supplier of slaves."
"To respond to European demand, the State undertook an annual war against neighbors to capture their inhabitants (...) traffic generated wealth and prosperity of the capital, Abomey. Between 1750 and 1820, the kings sent the Portuguese Cut Five delegations to request traffic monopoly with Brazil ", the American country that was most slaves.
Abolida trafficking, the country's wealth became palm oil, used as a machine lubricant and to manufacture margarine. The colonial conquest was justified in humanitarian arguments against the human sacrifices that were carried out during the public festivities. "They were public executions rituals; at the same time in Europe, the executions were also public" relativized our guide in the presentation of the treasure to the press.
Three years resisted King Shark to the French. In the end, they sent a military expedition with a Senegalese Mestizo in command. What at the time was presented as surrender in 1892 of King Béhanzin was actually a crude deception. They promised an interview with President Carnot, embarked on him with four of his wives, three daughters and a son and took him ... to the Martinique in the Caribbean. He did not manage to be transferred to Algeria until 1906 where he died and was buried. More than twenty years needed the relatives of him so that the remains of him were repatriated.
His statue and those of two of his predecessors, the throne, altars and up to 26 sumptuary objects, each with his story behind, are now returned to Benin, heir state of the old kingdom of Abomey. President Patrice Talon claimed the treasure in 2016. The response of the Foreign Minister, Jean Marc Ayrault, Socialist, was that French law prevented the return of cultural heritage, considered "inalienable".
I did not lie. Macron that promised in 2017 (Speech in Ouagadugu, Burkina Fasso) Returning to Africa Her heritage has had to promulgate a law, unanimously approved in Parliament in December 2020. In French public collections there are 90,000 objects of African art, half Arrivals during the colonial period. The Quai Branly, the museum dear by President Jacques Chirac to revalue non-European art, has 70,000 pieces of African art and another 300,000 other origins.Updated Date: 27 October 2021, 19:45