August 12, 2022

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When Boris Johnson condemned the “looting” of the Parthenon by the British

The Prime Minister today opposed the return to Greece of masterpieces on display at the British Museum, campaigning for their return to Athens “immediately”.

The English Downing Street strategist in his time, passed away. Highly phililenic seed. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson He has made no secret of his reluctance to the idea in recent years The marbles of the Parthenon, which were on display at the British Museum, returned to GreeceA position he had already supported During his tenure as Mayor of LondonBetween 2008 and 2016. The statesman supported, however, in his youth the opposite, at the beginning of the XIX, London exposed the Greek press by discovering old texts about the treasures brought back by Lord Elgin.e century

“There is no reason why the Elgin Marbles, one of the most important and beautiful treasures left to us by the ancient world, should not be immediately returned to Athens, their place of origin, by the British Museum”, Boris Johnson wrote in 1986, in one of two letters kept in a library at Oxford University, discovered by a London correspondent for a Greek newspaper. Your Nea. The young man also mentions politics “Sophisticated, uncompromising” And “Intolerable by the Educated” Implemented by the British Government Margaret Thatcher About these marbles and carved sculptures from the mid-Ve century BC AD and attributed to Phidias.

At the age of 21, while studying at a prestigious university, the future prime minister picked up the pen in March and April to address his most fervent supporters. Melina Mercury, the actress was the then Greek Minister of Culture, who actively worked to restore the Parthenon marbles. To mark the occasion, the Oxford Union, the university’s student union under Boris Johnson’s presidency, organized a debate on restoration, with the vote of a resolution in favor of returning the marbles. Members of the Greek Embassy were invited on the sidelines of the event. A period photograph bears witness to the meeting between a young Boris Johnson and Melina Mercury.

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“Many years later, when he was Mayor of London, I met him in his office with Ambassador Konstantinos Bigas. I reminded him of the 1986 debate and gave him a framed photograph of him with Mercury. He smiled and changed the subject.testified Your Nea Victoria Salamonides is a former Cultural Counselor at the Greek Embassy in London.

In December, Your Nea It had already revealed that there was a short article published in April 1986 in the Oxford Union’s newspaper, in which Boris Johnson also called for the withdrawal of the marbles. The student also condemned “Regular Robbery” Parthenon, through Lord Elgin, took advantage of the state “Near Anarchy” who later ruled this region Ottoman Empire.

Statutory acquisition versus habitual robbery

Thirty-five years later, the position of the young Prime Minister of England has evolved. “The marbles were lawfully acquired by the Duke of Elgin under the proper laws of the day”In March 2021 Boris Johnson repeated verbatim the arguments traditionally made by the British Museum and the British Government.

last The campaign was conducted from the fall Greek authorities demanded the return of the Parthenon marbles, which were kept in the British Museum. Conducted under UNESCO, Negotiations between England and Greece have struggled Start in good shape, the British authorities repeatedly pass the ball back and forth between the government and the museum management. However, by mid-June, The British Museum has opened up the possibility of an agreement to share the marbles Along with the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

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In Greece, the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis has made the return of the Parthenon marbles one of the priorities of its Ministry of Culture. “There could be no better time to reunite the missing piece of the Parthenon sculptures in their birthplace of Greece.“, pleaded with the Greek Prime Minister at UNESCO on 12 November An environment where international restructuring is high. In the United Kingdom, public opinion is now also in favor of the withdrawal of marbles. File supported by American actor George Clooney. According to a survey conducted in November 2021, 59% of Brits trust Elgin Marbles “belongs to Greece” .