The late Eddie O’Hara, a former member of the United Kingdom House of Commons and the European Parliament speaking to Colloquy 2013 in Sydney, via video. Eddie makes the point that the Acropolis Museum makes no pretension to be a universal museum, by contrast, it focuses on presenting the most comprehensive and holistic description of the Acropolis and its monuments.
Parthenon Sculptures: Why Truth matters
Anna Marangou argued in part that, “The Parthenon Sculptures: Why the Truth Matters” “…education, and especially education through Museums, is vital for the continued awareness of the Parthenon Marbles. As the world is changing rapidly and new values, new tendencies, and new visions appear, the real story of the Parthenon and the consequences of the “illegality” of the purchase of parts of the most important monument of the planet by the British Museum is left in the shadows. Education in the 21st century should reveal the truth through globally accepted historical facts”.
The Parthenon: An Icon of Global Citizenship
With the theme Parthenon: An Icon of Global Citizenship Colloquy 2013 was organised by this Committee. We welcomed people campaigning for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles from all over the world.
The linking of diverse people underscored a new chapter in global citizenship with the Parthenon as the symbolic and the actual point of unity.
In his opening address to Colloquy 2013, our Chairman, Emanuel J Comino AM JP, reminded us of the foundational role played by Melina Mercouri former Minister of Culture and Sciences in Greece, in instigating the modern campaign for reunification.
The importance of Melina Mercouri
On July 29, 1982, Melina Mercouri, addressed the World Conference on Cultural Policies, organised by UNESCO, in Mexico. She told the world that the Parthenon Marbles must be returned to Greece. The following year she asked our committee to assist the newly formed British Committee, now known as The British Committee for Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), in whatever way we could.
Since that time we have maintained a close association with the BCRPM.
Moreover, we acknowledge the important contribution Melina Mercouri has made
Parthenon Marbles neither belong to the UK nor to Greece, to you or me! They belong to themselves and represent 2500 years of uninterrupted Greek history. E G Comino AM.
Nugas Victoria invited Greek Australian Emanuel Comino, Founder, and Chairman of the International Organising Committee Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles – Australia to address a large student gathering. (click here a Facebook link to an interview, in Greek, with EJ Comino)
Also in attendance was Jim Melas whose YouTube video has been widely appreciated. Jim’s response to the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum reminds Emanuel of his first encounter with them in this forlorn space, more than 42 years ago.
Thanks to long-standing Greek representations to the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP), UNESCO has acknowledged the “historical, cultural, legal and ethical dimensions of the issue of the return of the Marbles to the Parthenon, which is a World Heritage Site and as such of universal significance. The ICPRCP committee is calling on both sides to resolve the issue with a “mutually acceptable solution”.
Highlighting the cultural and ethical dimensions
Following this important ICPRCP decision, Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou met with her counterpart in London.
Online news service GTP reports:
“The issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece was tabled during a meeting this week in London, between Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou and her UK counterpart Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock.
Minister Koniordou, also met with Michael Ellis, undersecretary of state for culture, said that it was time to intensify the dialogue between the two sides on a political level, highlighting the cultural and ethical dimensions of the issue, while underlining at the same time a recent recommendation by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP), which for the first time took a clear stance on the highly debated issue earlier this month.”
Despite some misguided suggestions from different groups with an interest in return of the Parthenon Marbles, the EU education and culture commissioner Tibor Navracsics has clarified matters. He said that the bloc’s directives on the repatriation of national treasures, apply in cases dating from 1993 onward and not to items removed in the 19th century.
Read more here.