Tough words by the Greek President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, towards the British Museum on the thorny issue of the Parthenon sculptures.
|Some of the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum
[Credit: Steven Zucker/Flickr]
“The British Museum’s obsession is tantamount to supporting Elgin’s cultural grave robbing and theft. And, of course, this does not honour the people of Great Britain, with the story assigned to it, that the crown jewel of their Culture, the British Museum, behaves like a common receiver of stolen goods and embezzler of World Heritage goods. ”
The President of the Hellenic Republic was speaking at the inauguration of the 24th Art Athina at the emblematic site of the Zappeion Palace on Friday evening.
Pavlopoulos asked for the immediate return of the Parthenon sculptures to Athens at the Acropolis Museum, which – he noted – has been erected for this very purpose. He stressed that the British Museum’s persistence in refusing to return the Sculptures also offends the Culture of Great Britain.
“This behaviour has begun to cause a worldwide outcry,” Pavlopoulos stressed.
He noted that the initiative for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures is not just about Greece, Athens, but about World Culture.
“It is a ‘cry of agony’, which is directly linked to the defence of this Culture, if we consider that the Parthenon signals the the starting point of World Culture,” Pavlopoulos said citing French novelist and Culture Minister Andre Malraux’s speech during the first illumination of the Acropolis on 28. May 1959.
This follows the release of a video that has emerged from the British Museum last week, showing mould and damp in the room that houses the Parthenon Sculptures.
The Greek Ministry of Culture chided announced the British saying it was an “insult” to the 2,500-year-old work that was produced by the Ancient Greeks.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni added that the “picture of neglect” at the London museum “strengthens Greece’s just demand” for the sculptures’ return, which the new Greek government in Athens has revived, seeking a loan of the works in 2021 but was refused by the British museum saying that Greece must first acknowledge that the Athenian sculptures belong to Britain!