Sunday, 31 October 2010
Return the Parthenon marbles to Greece so that Greek workers can protest against them
Thanks to the Cyprus Action Network of America for drawing attention to a recent protest at the British Museum by the Cypriot student organisation Metopo (see video above), part of the Bring Them Back campaign, which demands the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles from London to Athens, to the new Acropolis museum.
While it’s laudable that Metopo should make the effort for this cause, personally I’ve never been able to get overly-excited by the demand for the repatriation of the marbles. What do Greeks think? That once the marbles return, Greece will be redeemed and a new Periclean age will be initiated? The whole marbles obsession – just like the Greek mania for staging the Olympics in 2004 – is a distraction. Greece needs a vibrant and creative society worthy of the marbles – capable, actually, of producing new Phidias’ – not just fancy, well-stocked museums, testament to the vanity of politicians, whose ambitions for Greeks is limited to turning them into a nation of museum curators and spectators of the past.
Moreover, while it’s undeniable that that the British are barbarians and London is a Third World Afro-Islamic city, so are the Greeks and so is Athens. And if you think it’s an exaggeration to call the Greeks barbarians, then how would you describe the behaviour of the culture ministry contract workers (see video below) who, on the national holiday of 28 October, climbed on top of the gateway (Propylaia) to the Acropolis to protest being laid off, and the justification for their actions given by their union rep Nikos Hasomeris that:
‘The marbles on their own aren’t anything. Somebody has to put them on show. Working with these marbles are guards, cleaners and archaeologists and it is they who make it possible for all these people who spend thousands of euros to come to see this monument. Without these people [the workers], this monument can’t function.’
It should be added that, as far as I’m aware, not only were the protesters on the Propylaia not shot down, they were not even arrested or charged, i.e. there were no consequences for their actions.