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16 Φεβρουαρίου, 2019

The return of the Parthenon Marbles is a matter of Justice and Civilisation

To Potami

Our answer to Mr Florian Schmidt-Gabain's suggested solution

Dear Florian Schmidt -Gabain,

I have to admit that your suggested solution - through the authoritative Guardian - for British and Greeks to split in half and share the Parthenon marbles - really took me by surprise. Now, let me give explain why.

Parthenon marbles are not lost books of a great library. Parthenon marbles are not the rare vessels of an excavation. Parthenon marbles are not pieces of a priceless collection. They are marbles that have been violently removed from a monument that still stands in a unique corner of Europe.

For many out there - and probably reasonably enough - these marbles are the most precious archaeological treasure of the entire world.

I will not be narrating the story for you. I am sure that you are well aware of it. Besides, there are many who claim that Lord Elgin was nothing but a smuggler. He received a letter from a Kaymakam, i.e. a high official of the Ottoman Empire, and dismantled a large part of the frieze from the Parthenon. He did not even have - just because he could not - an explicit consent from the Sultan, who was the only one who could have issued such a permit at the time.

220 years later and the monument still stands still at the very same place.

For ten years now, one of the most modern museums in the world also stands right next to the ancient monument.

So, this is matter of Justice and Civilisation. The 17 pedimental figures, the 15 metopes, and the 75 meters of the frieze must be returned to Greece. These are not independent, isolated sculptures like the ones exhibited in the museums of the world.

I do understand that your suggested solution to split the marbles and share them may be a bold one, from the British point of view. Especially considering that Dr Hartwig Fischer, British Museum Director, has been trying to put an end at this conversation at all costs.

But take a minute and picture a world, where we all decided to exonerate the … “Elgin-types”.

Picture the Sistine Chapel, if someone detached half of the 300 paintings of Michelangelo. Picture Picasso’s Guernica, if someone detached four out of its eight meters. Picture the Pyramide of Cheops, if someone detached its top. It sounds torturing, doesn’t it?

It is! So, stop thinking about it and take the entire step ahead.

Defend the return of marbles. Defend Logic, Justice and Civilisation.

Thank you in advance for taking this letter into consideration.

Stavros Theodorakis, leader of To Potami political party

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