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People

“Εasy” speaking, Easy acting

In June 2008, Sir Stelios Chatziioannou sent an open letter, destined to the British Museum and the new Acropolis Museum. The Cypriot businessman was suggesting a “meaningful and constructive dialogue”.



“I feel that now is the right moment to find a solution, from which both museums will benefit in a form of cultural exchange. As a result, the Art lovers all around the world may have the unique opportunity to see these masterpieces reunified”, concludes the businessman, who is the man behind the colossus of Easy Jet.    
In fact, Mr Chatziioanou also took part in the debate on the return of the marbles to Greece, organized by the University of Cambridge about two years ago. His beliefs for the return of the marbles to Greece had already been clear, since January of the same year, while Mr Chatziioanou opposed openly to the irrevocable decision of the British Museum. At the same time, he stated that he is firmly interested in the efforts made by the British Committee for the return of the marbles in our country. 





Under the Acropolis

Every summer, Mrs Anna Sidiropoulou, from Anafiotika wanders in the neighborhoods near Acropolis and collects signatures of tourists. The aim once again…Her own “Bring them back”.

Anna Sidiropoulou

From 1997 until today, Mrs Anna Sidiropoulou, resident of the neighborhood of Anafiotica managed to collect more than 35.000 signatures in favor of the return of the Parthenon Marbles in Greece. "Only during summers of course because in winter, we don't have many tourists", she says. In fact, many important figures of all the world are among the undersigned, politics, ministers, artists, athletes etc.

As she comes from Macedonia, she has had the chance to meet the remarkable Melina Merkouri. On the frameworks of her campaign, she has also met tens of British who state in favor of the marbles’ return in Greece. “I will go on”, she says firmly, while holding the papers with the signatures.
Mrs Sidiropoulou became famous, thanks to the initiative of an antiquities lover, Mr Fylaktos to deliver to her a free-ticket to London. What for?  So that she visited herself the marbles in the British Museum. All this took place at the TV show “Pame Paketo”. The attempt for the buy of the ticket made by the students of the Cultural team of Peuki High School was also moving.

Apart from the above, the persistent attempt of Mrs Sidiropoulou is worth the recognition of the government entities. On this framework, she accepted an honor in the past by Mr Evangelos Venizelos, ex Minister of Culture.

The mysterious Mr Hitchens

“Imagine Mona Lisa, torn into pieces”
The British Museum versus the British Committee and the British Citizens

“Antigone” of Sophocles teaches us that it is in the human nature to despise the sacrilege. That even for those of us who are not prejudiced, it is not nice to watch a dead body lying unburied on the street. Some British and many others must have always felt that it is exaggerated, wrong and outrageous the fact that the sculpture of Pheidias has been cut and divided, when we have the chance to unify the pieces. It is like watching the Turk soldiers in Cyprus. It doesn’t look right”, writes the British Christopher Hitchens, on the occasion of the Third Edition of his book “The Parthenon Marbles, argumentation in favor of the reunification”.

The distinguished half British, half American journalist, political analyst and literature critic considers himself a permanent member of the Reunification Committee and states that you don’t have to be Greek, Mexican, Latvian or Irish to understand the Parthenon’s argument.

His first book about the Parthenon was published in 1987, while at an older interview in “Kathimerini”, he stated: “There isn’t any famous museum in the world not owning many pieces of Greek art. None of the museums would be complete, without the ancient Greek works of art, especially those coming from Athens of the 5th century. There is no Greek petition for the return of these masterpieces back to their home country, because they consist true samples of the civilization of human kind. For the exact same reason, the Parthenon Marbles’ case is unique. Because, the specific work of art cannot be exhibited complete. Imagine how it would be, if we had Aphrodite’s hands. If they weren’t in Paris and they were in Reykjavik. I believe that her hands would be transferred where her body is. Don’t you think? Or imagine Mona Lisa, torn into pieces by a grasper during the Napoleonic Wars- one half of it being in Holland and the other half in Lisbon. I believe once again that some action would have been made in order to see how these two would look unified. It’s a very simple question”.

The “Black Parthenon”

This winter’s “Festival of Light” in Australia had a Greek “feeling” and was designed in the tone of a Black Parthenon.

Last summer, the central square of Melbourne obtained -at least for a few days-  its own Parthenon. The Australian Parthenon was placed at “Federation Square” and was dressed in black. The occasion for this original artistic installation was the inauguration of the New Acropolis Museum, with a basic petition for the return of the Parthenon marbles in Greece.
“The Parthenon is the symbol of Western culture. Just as the slavery was abolished, in the same way the looting of cultural treasures shouldn’t be acceptable. The British argument of protecting the marbles is unsubstantial and reminds of the colonial times. My intervention here is that I am aiming to support the petition for the return of the marbles, not simply as a return of marbles but as a reunification of body parts”, states the inspirer of this operation, combining artistic, activistic, political and diplomatic efforts.
The project included different scaffolds in the shape of the Parthenon, covered with black cloth, while at night the installation was lightened with white and light blue colours, always on a black background.

The project included different scaffolds in the shape of the Parthenon, covered with black cloth, while at night the installation was lightened with white and light blue colours, always on a black background.


They visited the “Black Parthenon”
“By talking about the return of the finest works of art of the antiquity, it’s not the victory of Greek chauvinism that we imply. We just say that a huge injustice must be adjusted. The petition for the return of the marbles is encouraged by the majority of the world’s population and by the crushing majority of the British population. And I wonder why the clerks of the British Museum do not understand this. Sooner or later though, they will be obliged to return the marbles. They have no right to keep them anymore”, stated the president of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, David Hill. He also provided historic references within the framework of the looting of the sculptures by Lord Elgin and characterized the New Acropolis Museum as a masterpiece.

The Aboriginals support Greece

The responsible of Aboriginals’ art, Mike Green had a large reference to the efforts being made at the moment for the return of the Aboriginals’ bones from Britain and Australia, while he claimed that the international pressure towards Britain should be continued. “In the beginning I didn’t want them to learn anything about all this. We were campaigning for years against them, having the support of the media. The governments of both countries were forced (with presidents Blur and Howard) to sign a relative agreement and in the end we threatened them with plaints so that they would be obliged to return the sculls and bones of the Aboriginals.

Constantin Dimopoulos at ActClick

Artist

“Ιn regard to the Marbles, I believe very strongly that the Marbles are not only works of art that belong to Greece but also that they are linked to the very identity of the country and they need to be returned.
The Parthenon was built to house these marbles and therefore without them the very nature of the building has been compromised.
I am currently working to bring the Black Parthenon as a concept to Athens and also to London. As an artist I am trying to create a work that will not only raise the issue of the Parthenon Marbles but also put pressure on the British Museum to take steps and resolve the current situation.

Τhank you again,

Κosta”

The Marble Maid is crying

The author from Ioannina, Christos Scandalis links Stamos’s adventure in the search of his lost twin sister with the adventure of the Elgin Marbles.

Christos Scandalis

The difficulties, the anxiety and the joys of a little boy are combined with the story of the Caryatids, who are the marble maids of the…castle. The Caryatids are weeping for their sister, who was taken away by the Franks. This book consists a historic novel, while its author dedicates it to “all the fights for the return of the Elgin Marbles”. “This novel, which by random coincidence becomes the chronic of the grab of the Parthenon marbles by Lord Elgin, is narrating us in a very lively, descriptive and moving way the story of the Elgin Marbles”, explains C. Scandalis.

A first reading…

“When they were building the little castle during Chasekis years, almost ten limekilns used to smoke around here. They wouldn’t leave any small or big rock. They used to cut off pillars, chop slabs of marble. The crowbar and the sledge hammer worked day and night. Ottomans and Christians did not look carefully at the stones, they had to find stuff. Otherwise, Chasekis would order them to destroy their houses, in order to throw the rocks to the limekilns.

“The dragomans translated the firman literally and the agas and the other Ottomans took their pipes out of the mouth and nodded, as if they had understood the words of the firman. And the despot Gregorios, without being asked, ensured Hude that he would help him anyway he could…”

“…Elgin’s ambassador immediately announces the lord’s wish to offer economical help to the bishopric. The despot stands up full of joy and declares to the foreigners that all the monasteries and churches of the Bishopric are at their disposal. They could pick up whatever they wanted among the ancient heirlooms”.

For Carlotas’s fireplace .

During this stay of a few months in Athens, Elgin himself conducted the works of the ablation and transportation of the Parthenon Marbles. He was also present when the supernaturally big sculptures were removed from the friezes of the temple…”


“The lying statues looked like sleeping giants”
“For the transportation until the storage space, Elgin tried another easier way too. After the workers had carried them to the end of the rock, they placed them on a gun-carriage. Thirty-two sailors were holding and dragging the gun-carriage up to the rough terrain, till they were reaching the storage space. This was happening for the first time! The Atheneans were going out to see what was happening. The lying statues of Poseidon, Athena, Hermes, Cephissus, Amphitrite the Sea Nymph looked like sleeping giants! And Elgin, who had a sharp mind was very worried when people showed up. He put criers to send the curious away. So that no unexpected incident occurred! His aim was other of course! Not many eyes should see what he was doing! Maybe –just like it happened- the Greek earnestness and race consciousness arouse and people realized what Thomas Elgin did to his enslaved Generation. The sly lord wanted his works to be done perfectly and with discretion!”.

The epilogue
“The marble maids at the castle are really weeping for their companion. They will be crying until she is brought back to place. Until they see her standing still and proud next to them. And people will be hearing their lament. Those who believe them!…”.

Who is Christos Scandalis

Christos Scandalis was born in Krufovos of Ioannina in 1930. He studied pedagogic and was specialized in Special needs Education, as a teacher and a school counselor. He worked as a permanent collaborator with the magazines of “Epirotic Estia” and “Free Spirit”. Within seven years, from 1976 to 1984, he published seven folkloric collections. His book “The retarded people into the Greek society” is a particularly remarkable study, on a social and pedagogic level. Its survey covers the period from the mythic times until today. In addition, his historic drama “Skylosofos” is of great interest and is dedicated a great figure of Hellenism during the Turkish occupation.

Research & Composition:
Dimitra Nikolopoulou
Page editorship:
Rania Dalalaki
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