ATHENS – More than 200 years after they were stolen by a British diplomat, Greece is still hoping to have returned from the British Museum the invaluable Parthenon Marbles and begun a new effort.
The drive was launched by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna V. Vardinoyiannis, based on an initiative by the Elpida Association and the Melina Mercouri Foundation, named for the former famed actress and Culture Minister who said the stolen goods were the “Parthenon Marbles,” and not the Elgin Marbles, as they had been called after the thief who took them with the consent of the ruling Turks
Speaking at a press conference organized at the Acropolis Museum, Vardinoyiannis noted that the campaign, titled Return (the Marbles), Restore (Parthenon), Restart (History) was aimed at increasing awareness for the return of the Parthenon Marbles currently at London’s British Museum, whose officials have said will never let them be taken back to Greece.
The campaign’s opening event was an international conference on the Parthenon scheduled to take place at the Acropolis Museum this week, followed by an across-the-country survey regarding the importance of the marbles’ return for Greeks.
The results of both the conference and the survey were expected to be submitted to world heritage organization UNESCO which has written the British government regarding the return of the marbles friezes dismantled from the Parthenon from 1801-12.
The British government has ignored all pleas and said the marbles now belong to England, not Greece while international police organizations continue to prosecute people who currently steal antiquities.