CULTURE

‘Moral duty’ to bring Parthenon Marbles back home

President Karolos Papoulias yesterday received the members of 12 international committees for the return of the Parthenon Marbles in Greece at the invitation of Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, who accompanied them to the Presidential Palace. Papoulias thanked them for their «generous effort.» «The Elgin Marbles were seized during a period of history where the strong had the power of life and death over the weak. Now that time has passed. Now we serve other moral values and I believe that it is a moral duty to bring those treasures of Greek civilization back to their homeland… It is not an easy battle,» Papoulias said. «We have to give answers to people who pretend they don’t understand certain things that are very clear. However, I believe that international moral order will prevail and that we will all celebrate together at a later date, when the Elgin Marbles come home.» Honorary Professor Anthony Snodgrass, president of the British Committee for the Return of the Marbles, noted that representatives of 15 countries were present. «Who would believe that there would be organizations dedicated to the return of the Parthenon Marbles in 15 different countries?» he asked. «We are particularly grateful for this meeting here under the Parthenon which we will visit, along with the New Acropolis Museum now under construction.» David Hill, member of the Australian committee, emphasized that the committees’ goal was to increase the pressure on the British to allow the Marbles to take their rightful place alongside those still in Athens. It was a pleasure to see Eleni Cubitt, film director and wife of the founder of the British committee, as optimistic as ever. Christopher Price, a journalist and former Labour MP, was more reserved. After his meeting earlier with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, he said there was not much hope for «rapid developments.» He had the impression that the government would not take advantage of the opportunity during Britain’s current presidency of the European Union, to ask for the Marbles, here and now. Archaeologist Anna Marangou, president of the Cypriot committee, added, «The issue has gone the same way as the Cyprus issue.»