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Statements

Melina Merkouri

Actress, Former Minster of Culture

”It is political imperialism”

Karolos Papoulias

President of the Greek Democracy

On the 21st June 2009, the inauguration day of the New Acropolis Museum, the Greek government brings back the issue of the Reunification of the Sculptures. “It is time that the monuments’ wounds were healed and this will be achieved through the return of the marbles, that belong to it”, claimed Mr. Karolos Papoulias, President of the Democracy.

Αntonis Samaras

Former Minister of Culture

“The Marbles call for the Marbles…The Parthenon and its sculptures were victims of vandalism. Nowadays, this crime can be rectified. The Museum is the moral force, calling them back”, claimed the Ministry of Culture Mr Antonis Samaras.

Κonstantinos Karamanlis

Former Prime Minister

“The Acropolis Museum is a work of all Greeks for all the World. It belongs to the world culture”, noted the prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis. He also referred to Konstantinos Karamanlis, “who inspired and put into action the initial procedures in 1976” and to Melina Merkouri, “who really promoted this common effort since the 80’ s decade”. “If the Acropolis of Pericles was an anthem to Beauty, Harmony and Freedom, the contemporary Acropolis Museum is today the ark of all the ideas that the Parthenon symbolizes since the very ancient times. It is the true expression of the World Civilization, which is capable and seeks for the return of its marbles. This is because the Parthenon Marbles speak for themselves. Therefore, the dignity of everything they represent rises to prominence. Besides, the dignity of the monuments and the symbols of the Parthenon is not an exclusively Greek petition. It is the demand of the Humanity, in which the Parthenon as well as its symbolisms belong to.

David Hill

President of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

The committees’ president, David Hill announced, among other themes, the attempt to establish a Parthenon Day every year, on some day of June, while a big campaign will also start, using the words “why not”. “The three-month lending of the Sculptures, suggested to the Acropolis Museum by the British Museum consists a great insult for Greece, therefore the fact that the Greeks turned down this proposal was very good. It’s like asking a mother to compromise with the fact that her children have been kidnapped”, David Hill, Australian President of the Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

Anthony Snodgrass

Professor of Cambridge University, Britain

“The biggest obstacle we have to face is the pride and prejudice of the British Museum. It finds extremely difficult to move to any action that could harm its image, like for example to start a discussion with Greek representatives on equal terms. I believe that the year 2002 is too soon for the different kind of obstacles to be surpassed. This doesn’t mean of course that we can’t make important progress until then. Besides, the British public opinion is in favor of the Greek side. Almost half of the population is aware of the situation and 65% - 75% among them states in favor of the return”.

Selina Figueiredo Laz

Vice president of the Brazilian Committee

“The reunification is not only a matter of Greece but a matter of all the world. This action creates a positive ambience throughout the planet and each committee is responsible to expand the campaign so that it gets to its aim. The biggest obstacle is the old-fashioned mentality, a mentality of the 18th century that consists the spiritual basis of the British Museum. These ideas are imperialistic, outdated, creating rage to many countries. The Acropolis has at last the museum that it deserved and all five members of the Brazilian Committee (professors of different universities), we voluntarily devote our lives for this aim. When we see the head of a statue being separated from its body or other marbles being cut in a violent way, ours souls hurt”.

Μika Rissanen

Μember of the Finnish Committee

“The fact that the British Museum “legally” bought stolen works of art does not necessarily involve its right of property. The assertion of the Greek Marbles could lead the way for the repatriation of many works of art, grabbed by the British, within the framework of its imperialistic policy. We have to find a way to persuade the British, to make them regard the reunification as a move that will improve their public image and not as a defeat after the negotiations of many decades. I have studied History and I made my first walk in the Acropolis as a student in September 1999, the day after the big earthquake that shook up Greece. It was then that I was filled with awe, realizing that whatever happens, the Parthenon will always stand there”

Dusan Sidjanski

Vice president of the International Association

”For so many years, the British Museum’s argument was that Greece does not obtain the suitable construction to place these works of art and that if these sculptures remain in London, a larger number of visitors will have the chance to see them. Since Saturday, the day of the museum’s inauguration, this argument is not valid anymore. My relation with Greece is a relation of life. I fell in love with my wife, who’s Greek and she made me fall in love with your country too. My aim is to ask for the intervention of important personalities from the art and literature ground . For example, it would be nice if Nana Mouschouri agreed to become an honored member of the Swiss Commission”.

Bill Clinton

42th President of U.S.A

“If it was up to me, I would give them back at once”.

Vladimir Putin

President of Russia

“The Greeks try to bring back what belongs to them”.

Costa Gavras

Director

(for the “cut” of one and a half minute from the documentary on the New Acropolis Museum. “The reasons given by the Direction of the museum are not credible. The documentary on the history of the monument ends with the scandal for the famous frontispiece of the Parthenon, pieces of which were stolen by Lord Elgin and transported in Britain. Those pieces continue to belong in the Parthenon and that’s the main message of the film. But, in my movie, the first destroyers of the temple are said to be the first Christians, who were feeling resentment against the naked men and women, represented in the sculptures. At the time, the situation was in a way like the Taliban nowadays who destroy the Buddha sculptures.

Cristopher Hitchens

Journalist, Writer

“The Parthenon consists the “absolutely right” construction of classic antiquity. One day, there will be an agreement so that the “right” thing occurs, just as it would be appropriate for the “rightest” construction of the world. It is time to fill the empty spaces in the New Museum of the Greeks”, notes meaningfully the British journalist, Christopher Hitchens at the well-known British newspaper “Guardian”.

Bernar Tschumi

Architect of the New Acropolis Museum

“Imagine an ancient sculpture, with its head being in Athens, its body in London and its legs in Paris. This situation is absolutely outrageous”, states the Swiss architect of the New Acropolis Museum, Bernard Tschumi, in an interview at “Der Spiegel” magazine.

Gough Whitlam

Former Prime Minister of Australia

“The new Acropolis Museum gives the British Museum the chance to compensate for one of the biggest mistakes in history. There aren’t any more excuses to justify the preservation of the collection at Davin Gallery in the back section of the British Museum, now that the sculptures can be unified and exhibited with the rest of the surviving Acropolis sculptures”, states the ex prime-minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam.

Μalcom Fraser

Ex Prime Minister of Australia

"The Olympic Games of 2012 in London are the best occasion for the British to return the Parthenon Marbles back home at the New Acropolis Museum”, states as well the ex Prime Minister of Australia.

Νadine Gordimer

Writer

“These sculptures do not belong and never belonged to Lord Elgin. Their return to Greece nowadays is based on facts, which go beyond the strictly legal ones. It is based on the restoration of a colonial injustice, covered up by a simple commercial exchange”, Nadine Gordimer, South African Nobel writer, known for her activistic and political actions.

David Wilson

Ex director of the British Museum

David Wilson (ex director of the British Museum) states for Melina Merkouri: “It is unusual that a thief is allowed to supervise in advance the objects that 'he is about to steal' ”.

Νeil MacGregor

Ex Director of the British Museum

“The museums exist to describe a history. In Athens, the marbles narrate the story of the “birth of democracy” , while in London the history of the European Enlightenment”. Both stories are of equal importance , therefore the “distribution” is fair”

Richard Allan

British Member of the Parliament

Richard Allan, British Member of the Parliament and visionist of the movement, said:  “This action shows that the Return of the Marbles in Greece has a global impact. Two statements that support the return of the Marbles, were signed by almost 600 people at the European Parliament. Meanwhile, many countries of the Commonwealth as well as in the United States focus their attention and their actions on the return of the Marbles. If we want to be Full Members of Europe, we must do this gesture for Greece. In addition, an ideal opportunity is rising for the British Government to prove that its role in the international cooperation and bona fide is vital”





“It’s not going to be forgotten”

Historic Statements

Through the course of history, Lord Byron, Ernest Renin, Thomas Hardy, Roger Casement and the king of Bavaria Louis I unite their voices of protest with those of Cavafy, Palamas, Alexandros Rizos Ragavis and denounce the removal of the Sculptures from the Parthenon monument.

(information taken from the book “The Parthenon Marbles and Byron’s denounce)

Lord Byron

Poet

Lord Byron, in his work “The curse of Athens” asks for Elgin’s punishment, while he sets Athens to curse all those who destroyed her sacred rock. Childe Harold, in his work “The Pilgrimage” keeps a similarly cruel position against Elgin as well as Dodwell and Clark. The Catalogue of Viskonti is known as well, which includes 253 antiquities, removed from the Acropolis, by Elgin.

Childe Harold’s

What ! shall it e'er be said by British tongue,
Albion was happy in Athena's tears?
Though in thy name the slaves her bosom wrung,
Tell not the deed to blushing Europe's ears;
The ocean queen, the free Britannia, bears
The last poor plunder from a bleeding land:
Yes, she, whose gen'rous aid her name endears.
Tore down those remnants wdth a harpy's hand,
Yhich envious Eld forbore, and tyrants left to stand.

..Linked with the fool that fired the Ephesian dome…

Some calm spectator, as he takes his view,
In silent indignation mixed with grief,
Admires the plunder, but abhors the thief.
Oh, loathed in life, nor pardoned in the dust,
May Hate pursue his sacrilegious lust!
Linked with the fool that fired the Ephesian dome,
Shall vengeance follow far beyond the tomb,
And Eratostratus and Elgin shine
In many a branding page and burning line;
Alike reserved for aye to stand accursed,
Perchance the second blacker than the first.


So let him stand, through ages yet unborn, Fixed statue on the pedestal of Scorn; ( “ The curse of Minerva”. Lord Byron)

Κonstantinos Kavafis

Poet

“The one who chases the spirit, grasps the foolishness”

On the 10th Aprin 1891, Konstantinos Cavafy writes at the magazine “Nineteen Century”, an answer to an article against the Return of the Marbles.“It is disrespectful for a big nation to benefit from half truths and half rights. The honesty consists the best politics and honesty in the case of the Elgin Marbles consists their return. It would be sad not to recall the dictum of the famous French author “The one who chases the spirit, grasps the foolishness”. Nineteen days after, the same author writes: “The death of the politic or international matters is the forgetfulness. Fortunately, the matter of the return of the Marbles in Greece is not going to be forgotten…” One of the main arguments of those opposing to the return of the Elgin Marbles is that by doing this, Britain will recognize the return of foreign antiquities and all its archaeological collections should be returned. But this consists a usual alibi of those who avoid to act bravely. They are afraid of the consequences. What are these consequences anyhow? They should have decent motives, until the moment that its abuse will make them seem ridiculous. Accordingly, someone should never do graceful acts by helping the poor because if helped all the poor, he would end up poorer than the poorest.

Ernest Renan

Philosopher, Writer

Ernest Renan writes in the “Pray on the Acropolis”: “How beautiful this day will be, when all the cities that stole something from your temple’s remains, Venice, London, Copenhagen will give the stolen pieces back, compensating this way for this injustice! They will form official representative groups, will carry out archaeological missions at all the Greek sacred places, in order to return the antiquities that they keep possessing”.

Research & Composition:
Dimitra Nikolopoulou
Page editorship:
Rania Dalalaki
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