The Editor, the Guardian
I am writing on today’s news that parts of Parthenon Sculptures are to be given as a loan from the British Museum to a Museum in Russia
A few facts, starting with the basics.
- The British Museum, all British governments, British media (and as a result British public) use the term “Elgin Marbles”. Well: a. they are not marbles (any more); they are sculptures, and b. they are not Elgin’s; they belong to the Parthenon. Hence the term “Elgin marbles” shows no respect whatsoever for the artifacts.
- In 1930s British Museum “caused irreparable damage to them” [Parthenon Sculptures]. See The Guardian 14-Apr-2001:
- In 1999 the British Museum organised secret parties for millionaires for £35,000 per person excluding food & drink, to dine next the the Parthenon Sculptures. See The Guardian 8-Nov-1999:
- In Oct 2013 the British Museum refused to respond to UNESCO’s offer to mediate over the issue. Still completely ignores the offer to this day. The UK is member of UNESCO.
- In 2014 the British Museum gives some Sculpture on loan to Russian Museum. See BBC News 5-Dec-2014:
The director of the British Museum Mr MacGregor is quoted to have the audacity to have said that “the Greek government would be delighted”.
How provocative, how ludicrous, how rude, how disgusting, how -forgive me on that- utterly un-british statement? If I were a British Museum trustee, I would urgently ask for his resignation for this statement.
- If British people really want to make the unusual extra effort to understand the point of view of Greeks on this matter, please consider this hypothetical scenario:
In the 15th century the British isles are occupied by the French. British people fall under oppressing French rule. Four centuries later, the Greek Mr Papadopoulos buys a permission from French authorities to care for the Big Ben. He moves half of it to his estate in southern Greece. Twenty years later, the British people start a revolution against the French and soon they acquire their independence. In the end of the 20th century British authorities and public ask for repatriation of the “Papadopoulos Steel” to Britain. Greece refuses to talk, to sit down under UNESCO. The “Greek Museum” causes irreparable damage in 30s, organises glamorous parties in the rooms where Big Ben (sorry: Papadopoulos Steel) is displayed in 1999 and it even gives some objects (say: number “10 of the Big Ben’s clock”) as a loan to a Chinese museum in 2014, while ignoring refusing to sit down with UNESCO to discuss an offer of mediation on the issue. The Director of the Greek Museum says publicly that “the British government should be delighted with the loan”, and that “the greatest things in the world should be shared and enjoyed by as many people in as many countries as possible”. Well done Mr Director. British public would certainly appreciate your views.