Friday, September 21, 2012

Flynn on New Moves to Return the Parthenon Marbles

Tom Flynn has a piece published yesterday 'Greece prepares for fresh assault on the British Museum over the Parthenon Marbles'(20th Sept 2012).

This follows the announcement by the Greek Ministry of Culture that it will now re-establish a special advisory committee to coordinate actions which will secure the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles currently held in Britain. He quotes 'Alternate Culture Minister' Costas Tzavaras saying:
"Greece's moral right is above every objection that is based on arguments aired as mere delay tactics, and aiming to brush aside the basic principle that is universally applied, namely, the necessity of cultural monuments to be repatriated, meaning a return to the place of their origin".
Flynn comments:
That word "universally" jumps off the page. I'm not so sure the British Museum — the self-styled "universal" museum par excellence — would subscribe to any principle, basic or otherwise, that would support the repatriation of cultural monuments to their place of origin. Meanwhile, December could be crunch time for the Greek economy, with commentators of every stripe queuing up to predict Greece's exit from the Eurozone. Were that to happen it would surely increase the desire for repatriation of the Marbles as Greece seeks to reassemble its sense of national pride and cultural identity. If the Marbles are essential to the British Museum's tourist revenues — which we know them to be — it logically follows that they would bring a similar benefit to the New Acropolis Museum were they to be installed where they belong in the new museum's beautiful Parthenon Galleries. It will be interesting to see whether this new cultural committee manages (where past initiatives have signally failed) to maintain its momentum and presses its claim through the proper diplomatic channels with a tough follow-through.

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