UK PM Says Greece’s Parthenon Marbles Will Stay in Britain
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is refusing to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece despite a request in 2019 by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
In an interview to Greek daily Ta Nea, Johnson said the 2,500-year-old marble sculptures illegally removed from the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Athens, in the 1800s, will not be returned to Greece, adding however that he is both a philhellene and that he visits Greece at least once a year and the region of Mt Pelion, where he has a holiday home.
“I understand the strong feelings of the Greek people and Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the subject, but the sculptures were legally acquired by Lord Elgin and their rightful owner are the commissioners of the British Museum,” said Johnson.
The Greek Marbles, which are the leading money-making attraction in the British Museum, were torn off the Parthenon Temple together with a section of the Parthenon Frieze in the early 1800s by Lord Elgin.
Johnson did however stress that he is passionate about ancient Greek studies, that he considers Homer the greatest writers of all times.
Greece had officially requested the temporary return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, for this year’s bicentennial celebrations commemorating the 1821 Greek War of Independence.
The UK and the British Museum have repeatedly been slammed for their refusal to return the Parthenon Marbles to their country of origin, amid an ever-growing number of supporters worldwide.
The British Museum has cited a number of arguments, many of which are no longer founded, including the fact the Greece has no adequate space to house the Marbles.
Meanwhile, US congress has called for the return of the Parthenon Marbles and UNESCO for a “mutually acceptable solution” recognizing the historical, cultural, legal and ethical dimensions of the issue, which has been the subject of an ongoing dispute between Greece and the UK.
Don’t despair O Greeks. You shall have your Marbles back.
But not by past timeframes or tactics. Old ideas of proprietary rights, art exhibition, and global reach are dying. The world will walk out of this pandemic with new eyes and see them differently. They are your history and they have more value than even you yet realize.