In a slew of recent articles, many following the meeting between Boris Johnson and Kyriakos Mitsotakis last Tuesday, media outlets around the world support the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles.
While Johnson reportedly stuck to the UK Government’s position that the issue concerns the British Museum and not them, opposing voices from within Britain and elsewhere seem to be more and louder than ever. An article in The Daily Telegraph on Friday cites a public opinion poll by pollsters YouGov, showing that 56% of Brits believe that the stones should be exhibited in Greece, while only 20% said they should remain in the United Kingdom.
Mitsotakis appealed to Johnson again yesterday, in an article for the UK newspaper Mail on Sunday, speaking about the British PM’s self-proclaimed admiration for the ancient Greeks. “I believe that the classical scholar in Boris Johnson knows that he has a unique opportunity to seize the moment and make this generation the one that finally reunites the Parthenon Sculptures,” he writes.
The same point was also made earlier in the week in a piece titled “Give the Parthenon marbles back to Greece – tech advances mean there are no more excuses,” where The Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins discusses the fact that 3D-printing and etching techniques, pioneered in Italy and at Oxford’s Institute for Digital Archaeology, now can recreate the ancient statues with microscopic accuracy, and that such copies should take the place of the originals at the British Museum. He also remembers that the PM once made a promise to Greek Culture Minister Melina Mercouri to help her in the quest to get the marbles back. “One day a British government will return the Parthenon marbles to Athens. The only question is: who will obtain Greece’s undying credit and thanks? The obvious candidate was surely Boris Johnson,” he writes.
More press has been showing support for the cause lately as well; from The National Herald to The Art Newspaper, which recently published photos indicating new water damage in the British Museum’s Greek Galleries, to Marc Fennel’s ABC Australia podcast “Stuff the British Stole,” documenting the progress of the Australians for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures committee, one of many groups fighting for the return of the stones. “There are campaigns and meetings like this happening all around the world,” an article accompanying the podcast reads, “where the Greek diaspora is agitating to convince their home nations – but also Greece itself – that it’s time to push this issue in the United Nations’ International Court of Justice.”
UNESCO officially urged the UK to review its position on the Parthenon sculptures, defining it as an issue is of intergovernmental nature, last month.
While there’s still no positive response from the trustees of the British Museum or the UK Government in regards to Greece’s request, the international support provides some consolation – and, one might speculate, perhaps even a boost to visitor numbers at the Acropolis Museum.