The Greek community of Australia is keeping alive the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles, stolen property housed in the British Museum, which refuses to give them back and claims they belong now to England.
Minister of Energy and Multicultural Affairs of Victoria Nicholas Kotsiras raised the issue again, futilely, in a recent trip to London. Entreaties from Greece and Philhellenes around the world continue to fall on deaf ears as British Museum officials don’t want to give up their lucrative draw.
Kotsiras went to the museum to see the marbles stolen from Greece by a British diplomat, Lord Elgin, nearly 200 years ago and heard a speech about them at the Hellenic Club.
Although he visited London in his capacity as a Minister of Energy and Resources, however, Kotsiras had contacts with the Orthodox Archbishop of Britain, the executives of Diaspora and Spyros Merkouris (brother of late famed Greek actor and Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri) and others.
He also met with representatives of the Greek, Indian and Muslim community of London and asked them to support the return of the Parthenon Marbles even though it seems a lost cause. The British had argued there was no place to house them until the Greeks built a new Acropolis Museum and now are trying to find other reasons to keep them.
The Second World Congress for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles, entitled Parthenon, an Icon of Global Citizenship, will be held Nov. 16-17 at the University of Sydney and will attract scholars, speakers and activists from around the world. The topics of the conference will consist of four main sections: Education, Activism, Economy and Law/Legal.
According to www.kkjsm.org, the coordinator of the conference, Dennis Tritaris said: “In the first topic, the training, we will examine the role of the education community to understand the importance of the Parthenon.” It will also examine the role of the museum as an educational tool.
“On the issue of activism, we will examine how the global campaign could improve. That is, what tools and methods could be used to maximize results. It will also highlight successful examples from the field,” he added.
He went on: “In the economy section we will look at the Parthenon and other antiquities-under-commerce oriented society of today. What might be the benefits of the return of the sculptures for all parties involved.”
Finally, the fourth section will examine the role of justice in the campaign of reunification. That is, what arguments could contribute to a successful progress through legal channels.
An important aspect of this conference is that we will give the opportunity to the participants to express a simple opinion and participate actively through the four cycles of discussions on these four themes.”
Note also that there’s a special website to inform the public about all aspects of the conference. The site is located at www.parthenonmarblesaustralia.org.au/coloquy2013.