The great controversy: Abune Paulos’ statue – By Eskinder Nega

By Eskinder Nega | August 20, 2010

The controversial statue of Abune Paulos

Clad in the distinctive black robe of the Orthodox clergy, Abune Petros, one of Ethiopia’s four native-born Abuns (equivalent to Bishops) under an Egyptian Copt Patriarch, stood in a manifestly noble pose before an Italian military tribunal in 1936, the year that Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia.
A preposterously pompous Colonel presided over the proceedings. He was visibly relishing his moment in the spotlight. “The Patriarch has acceded to Italian rule,” began the Colonel darting his eyes dramatically between the hushed audience and the towering Abun. “Why then do you alone,” — a deliberate stop here for effect — “choose to disagree? Why did you rebel?”

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