Greek Culture Minister Antonis Samaras has said his nation is not interested in working out a loan arrangement for the Parthenon Marbles.
I can certainly understand that point of view, but at some point don’t we need to move beyond the question of whether that taking in 1801-2 was wrongful; and start asking what is best for the marbles and those who want to learn from them today? I don’t want to belabor the point, but isn’t the fact that the marbles are still on display at the British Museum a pretty strong indication that their removal was legal, or if not, not subject to current judicial scrutiny? We can argue about whether their continued display in London is ethical, but not I do not think a legal question any longer.
From the BBC:
The government, as any other Greek government would have done in its place, is obliged to turn down the offer,” Mr Samaras said, in a statement.“This is because accepting it would legalise the snatching of the Marbles and the monument’s carving-up 207 years ago.”He added that he was prepared to discuss lending Greek antiquities to the British Museum “to fill the gap left when the (Parthenon) Marbles finally return to the place they belong”.Mr Samaras was responding to comments made by British Museum spokeswoman, Hannah Boulton, on Greek radio.She said under existing British Museum policy the museum would consider loan requests by any foreign government, including Greece.But all requests would be considered on a case-to-case basis, taking many factors into consideration, including fitness of the item or items to travel.Greece would also have to recognise the museum’s ownership rights to the sculptures, which is a loan condition.
Ms Boulton told the BBC that the British Museum had not received a request from Greece, nor had it offered the marbles for loan.