Britain (BCRPM)

David Cameron on the Parthenon Marbles

A large amount of news coverage has been given on British Prime Minister David Cameron's comments on the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which he also extended to the Parthenon Sculptures.

 

PM’s concept is simplistic and indadequate, say critics
Prime minister David Cameron has been condemned for a lack of understanding following his statement last week about restitution of cultural objects.

Cameron was answering questions on a state visit to the site of the Amritsar Massacre, where British troops killed 379 Indians, when he was asked if he thought that the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is part of the Crown Jewels, should be returned as goodwill gesture. The prime minister said he didn’t believe in “returnism” and that wasn’t the right approach.

He added: “It’s the same question with the Elgin Marbles and all these other things. I think the right answer is for the British Museum and other cultural institutions in Britain is to do exactly what they do, which is link up with museums all over the world to make our collections – to make sure that the things that we have and look after so well – are properly shared with people around the world.”

But the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles has censured the prime minster for conflating the two cases.

Eddie O’Hara, chairman of the committee, said that each case must be judged by its merits.

“In the case of the Parthenon marbles it is the probably unique demand for the reunification of the integral sculptured components of a Unesco world heritage monument, acquired in circumstances that were at best dubious, in an act of cultural vandalism.”

He added: “The fact that he conjoined two such widely differing cases as the Koh-i-Noor diamond and the Parthenon Marbles, and the fact that he called the latter the “Elgin” Marbles suggests that he does not appreciate what a simplistic and inadequate concept ‘returnism’ is.”

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Pavlos Geroulanos meets with the BCRPM

Pavlos Geroulanos, Greece's Culture Minister, has met with the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles in London.

Greek Culture Minister Meets with British Committee for Restitution of Parthenon Marbles
Posted on 08 November 2011

A meeting was held among representatives of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles and the Greek Minister of Culture and Tourism Pavlos Geroulanos, who travelled to the United Kingdom in order to attend the London Tourism Exhibition.

The meeting’s attendees included the British Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, Andrew George, who promotes the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Moreover, the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles believes that Joanna Lumley would be a great supporter of the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, since in her recent documentary named “Greek Odyssey” she was promoting Greek culture and tourism.

According to sources, Joanna Lumley had a meeting with the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor during which she said that she thinks that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to their proper place in Greece.

Finally, the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles has made known to British People that the London 2012 Olympic Games could probably be the right time for Britain to do something for the better, by returning the Parthenon Marbles to their rightful place in Greece.

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BCRPM announces new chairman

After running the BCRPM's campaign for a number of years, Anthony Snodgrass has stepped down as Chair to be replaced by Eddie O'Hara, a former MP who stood down at the last election.

New Chairman for the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles
Friday, 03 December 2010
03 December 2010

PROFESSOR Anthony Snodgrass retired from his position as the chairman of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (www.parthenonuk.com and twitter BCRPM) and it was announced former MP Eddie O’Hara would take over the position.

Eddie O’Hara recently retired after 20 years as MP for Knowsley South and describes himself as “an unreconstituted classicist and lifelong supporter of the campaign for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles”.

Throughout his parliamentary career he tirelessly promoted the case for the Marbles to be returned to Athens, using various means including Early Day Motions, parliamentary questions, debates, meetings with ministers and the presentation of a Museums Bill, whose purpose was to remove any question as to whether museum trustees could divest themselves of objects in their collections.

Eddie O’Hara commented: “Professor Snodgrass has earned universal respect for the dignity and scholarship with which he graced the campaign and I am very much looking forward to carrying on his great work and continuing to campaign for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned to Athens.”

The British Museum has deployed a seductive new argument against their return. They have argued that the British Museum is one of a small number of ‘encyclopaedic’ museums, such as the Louvre and the New York Metropolitan Museum, and that the Parthenon Sculptures in the British Museum form part of a wider narrative of the development of western art together with outside influences upon it. They believe to return them would damage the integrity of this narrative.

Eddie O’Hara disagrees with these arguments and believes there are many other exemplars that the Greek Government could make available to replace the Marbles that wouldn’t damage the integrity of their narrative.

Eddie O’Hara also believes the British Museum overstates its case when it says that after two centuries in its collection the Marbles no longer play a part in any Greek narrative.

He comments: “They should not put narratives in competition with each other but if they do surely the most important story to be told by and on behalf of the Marbles is that they form an integral unity with those in Athens, and together they form an integral unity with one of the most important historical monuments in the world.”

Eddie O’Hara concurs with Eleni Cubitt, Hon Secretary of the Committee as he would welcome a credible response to the argument for the return of the Marbles on the grounds of human rights. The Faro Convention proposes that for a cultural community to be deprived of enjoyment of its cultural heritage is a violation of its human rights.

“The Greeks are a cultural community as defined by the convention and the Marbles are part of the cultural heritage with which they identify. Where there is a dispute good practice as defined by the convention includes measures to look at cooperation and reconciliation of these differences” concludes Eddie O’Hara.

Eddie O’Hara studied Literae Humaniores at Magdalen College, Oxford and has been General Rapporteur for the Cultural Heritage and Museums Rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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