Friday, June 19, 2009

"A catalyst for the return of the Parthenon Marbles"

On the eve of the opening of the New Acropolis Museum there have been some more quotes from key figures (Elena Becatoros, "New Acropolis Museum highlights missing marbles", AP June 19, 2009).

Dimitris Pantermalis, the museum's director, is quoted over the Parthenon sculptures:
This was an act of barbarism that can be corrected ... It's not an issue of pointing a finger at the British Museum, but of building bridges ... that can correct the unfortunate historic event of 1800.
Antonis Samaris, the Hellenic Minister of Culture, commented on the opening:
In essence it will be a constant, silent denunciation of the Parthenon Marbles' continued absence ... [The new museum] is a catalyst for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.
The alternative view is expressed by Hannah Boulton, the press officer of the British Museum, who restates the position of the universal museum:
I think they belong to all of us. We are all global citizens these days ... The Acropolis Museum is obviously going to be a fantastic new museum. ... It's obviously going to be wonderful to finally be able to see all the sculptures that remain in Athens on public display ... But ... here in the British Museum, they can tell this equally important, although different story about ancient Athens' place, in world cultures.
Image © David Gill.

3 comments:

DR.KWAME OPOKU said...

Taking into account all the circumstances surrounding the construction of the magnificent New Acropolis Museum, it would seem that officials from the British Museum would be best advised not to make any comments on the impressive structure and its contents. At any rate, they should not repeat the various arguments advanced over the years and found seriously to be bereft of any value. What does the Press Officer of the British Museum hope to achieve by saying, with reference to the new museum and the Parthenon Marbles: “I think they belong to all of us. We are all global citizens these days ... The Acropolis Museum is obviously going to be a fantastic new museum. I think they belong to all of us. We are all global citizens these days”. The suggestion that the new museum belongs to all of us has as little persuasive value as the standard British Museum argument, repeated often by Ian MacGregor and others, that the British Museum belongs to all of us. Nothing is more British than the British Museum. The new museum has been built by the Greeks and they should be very proud of it.

The argument that the division of the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles between London and Athens allows the telling of different stories is extremely weak. The arrogant pronouncement that with the presence of the Marbles in the British Museum “they can tell this equally important, although different story about ancient Athens' place, in world cultures” should not be made by any educated person. It suggests that the position of Greece in the concert of world cultures can only be determined by the British Museum. What an extraordinary statement.
Kwame Opoku

DR.KWAME OPOKU said...

Taking into account all the circumstances surrounding the construction of the magnificent New Acropolis Museum, it would seem that officials from the British Museum would be best advised not to make any comments on the impressive structure and its contents. At any rate, they should not repeat the various arguments advanced over the years and found seriously to be bereft of any value. What does the Press Officer of the British Museum hope to achieve by saying, with reference to the new museum and the Parthenon Marbles: “I think they belong to all of us. We are all global citizens these days ... The Acropolis Museum is obviously going to be a fantastic new museum.”. The suggestion that the new museum belongs to all of us has as little persuasive value as the standard British Museum argument, repeated often by Ian MacGregor and others, that the British Museum belongs to all of us. Nothing is more British than the British Museum. The new museum has been built by the Greeks and they should be very proud of it.

The argument that the division of the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles between London and Athens allows the telling of different stories is extremely weak. The arrogant pronouncement and assumption that with the presence of the Marbles in the British Museum “they can tell this equally important, although different story about ancient Athens' place, in world cultures” should not be made by any educated person. It suggests that the position of Greece in the concert of world cultures can only be determined by the British Museum. What an extraordinary statement.
Kwame Opoku

Alex said...

Having visited the new Acropolis Museum a few days ago, the demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles can no longer be rejected on the grounds that Athens has nowhere to properly house or display them.

The top floor of the museum, where the Parthenon marbles are displayed in the same shape and dimensions of the actual Parthenon ( which you can also see out of the window ), is truly amazing. I defy anyone who visits this museum to say that the marbles should remain in Britain.

If anyone feels strongly about the return of the Parthenon Marbles, please visit http://www.returnthemarbles.com and sign the online petition.

Alex

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