Pope leaves his new pet turtle in Angola
It’s been a rough trip to Africa — at least in the headlines — for Pope Benedict XVI, but hey, he got some great souvenirs! Pygmies from the Baka ethnic group in Cameroon gave Pope Benedict XVI a turtle last week during the Pontiff’s visit. As one blogger muses: No stranger to unusual gifts, Pope ...
It's been a rough trip to Africa -- at least in the headlines -- for Pope Benedict XVI, but hey, he got some great souvenirs!
It’s been a rough trip to Africa — at least in the headlines — for Pope Benedict XVI, but hey, he got some great souvenirs!
No stranger to unusual gifts, Pope Benedict was presented with a tortoise in a basket by a group of Baka Pygmies who gave him an unscheduled send-off from Cameroon last week. I’m not sure whether one can read deep messages into the gift of a tortoise (“It’s a metaphor for Pope Benedict’s approach to the Church, a slow dogged move forward with a heavy protective shell.” “It’s a symbol for…” etc etc etc ad nauseam). At any rate appears that tortoises are quite important to Baka Pygmy culture as a symbol of wisdom—they even have a special dance called the tortoise dance.
Vatican officials at first suggested it might find a nice home in the Vatican gardens. But something must have gone wrong with the turtle that was supposed to bring wisdom. After tagging on to the flight from Cameroon to Angola, the turtle (but let’s hope not the wisdom!) was left behind in Luanda.
Father Lombardi told reporters the turtle was “in good hands” with the staff of the nunciature in Angola because it was decided the African turtle should live in an African habitat.
Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
More from Foreign Policy
A New Multilateralism
How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy
Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.
The End of America’s Middle East
The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.