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British Museum Director: Theft Of Ancient Greek Statues Was “Creative Act,” They Will Never Be Returned

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British Museum Director: Theft Of Ancient Greek Statues Was "Creative Act," They Will Never Be Returned

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On January 26th, Greek newspaper Tanea published an interview with the Director of the British Museum Hartwig Fischer.

In the interview, Fischer suggested that the 19th century removal of Pantheon marbles from Greece could be seen as “a creative act.” He furthermore denied any possibility of the 2,500-year-old sculptures which Greece and other nations consider as stolen to be returned.

Asked about the argument that it should be seen more as a rejoining of the sculptures than a return, Fischer said the British Museum offered a different way of interacting with the marbles, “posing different questions because the objects are placed in a new context.”

He added:

“We should appreciate this opportunity. You could, of course, be saddened by the fact that the original environment has disappeared. When you move a cultural heritage to a museum, you move it outside. However, this shifting is also a creative act.

The same is not applicable to the Acropolis Museum in Athens, according to Fischer. “Nothing that we admire at the Acropolis Museum was created for the Acropolis Museum. They are close to the original environment, but they have again moved away from it and have been transformed through this act.”

Later in the interview, Fischer mulled a “loan” of statues to Greece, only in the event Athens recognizes the UK as the legitimate owner of the statues.

“The objects in the collection of the British Museum are owned by the museum’s commissioners”, he said.

George Vardas, the secretary of the International Association for Reunification of Parthenon Sculptures tweeted, asking what is creative about the severing the connection between a nation and its ancient history:

He further called the rejection of any possibility of the sculpture being returned an “astonishing historical revisionism and arrogance.”

The Guardian cited Myrsini Zorba, the Greek culture minister, who issued a statement on January 26th, condemning Fischer’s “legitimate owner” comments as exhibiting “a narrow and cynical managerial mindset.”

“It is regrettable to hear this by the director of the British Museum and a well-known art historian. His remarks downgrade cultural heritage from an invaluable universal value to a mere exchange sale.”

The British Museum is prohibited by law from returning the marbles. Despite that, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader said he would repatriate them if his party were to be elected.

A spokesperson for the British Museum said:

“Hartwig Fischer was stating the longstanding position of the British Museum. We believe there is a great public benefit in being able to see these wonderful objects in the context of a world collection. The museum lends extensively across the world, and some loans are long-term but not indefinite’.”

Sputnik cited some Twitter users, who mocked Fischer’s statement:

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  • Barba_Papa

    I wouldn’t give back those marbles either. Different times, different mores, can’t right every wrong of the past or there would be no end to it. Also there wasn’t a Greek state at the time they were taken, so the fault lies with the country then in charge, Turkey. Good luck taking up the case with Erdogan. And it can be argued that the Parthenon itself was built using stolen money from the League of Delos. Everybody steals in the end.

    Was it vandalism to steal them? I reckon so, but then again archeology back then was all about looting. And not always in the most respectful ways. Archeology back then bore more resemblance to Indiana Jones then actual archeology. Still, it could even be for the best. For now the marbles have been well preserved, who knows if the marbles had suffered if they had remained in Greece. For all we know they might have suffered damage in WW2, or been looted by the Nazis. In which case they might have been lost by now. Also, the Assyrian collection of the British Museum is now priceless after ISIS utterly erased the old Assyrian sites.

    • Atomsk

      “Everyone steals.” “It’s not their fault.” “Different times, different moves.” “Can’t right every wrong of the past.”

      Wow. I don’t think I ever saw as many apologetic commonplaces in the same post.

    • Proteus2

      They were sold by the art loving Ottomans my friend …
      Something similar to N Cyprus churches icons after the glorious Turkish “intervention”
      ( I’m sure for “preservation” )

      https://www.nytimes.com/1998/04/01/world/greek-orthodox-church-icons-ravaged-in-the-turkish-part-of-cyprus.html

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1768274.stm

      http://medievalnews.blogspot.com/2009/08/medieval-churches-being-destroyed-and.html

      As for the rest of the Acropolis, or any other ancient Greek artifacts, they didn’t suffer any significant damage in WWII ( thanks for your concern)

      P

      • Valerianus Maximus

        Thank you for stating the historical record on the German occupation of Greece during WWII. The British deserve to get tarred with the “art thief” brush just like everyone else who has done it.

    • mhtsaropinigitakis

      well even so…times have changed…stop acting like a fat kid and start considering to do the right thing…send them home..

      • Barba_Papa

        Thing is though, life is fundamentally unfair. Deal learn to deal with that because there’s going to be a lot of disappointments. I reckon that if the situation were to be reversed Greece would not give back anything either.

  • 1691

    Oh, well,…. what’s new here?
    Britain has been Great in stealing and murdering.

    • You can call me Al

      Yes we were and are pretty good at that.

      • 1691

        Yes, you were. Past tense.Now the british government is good at manufacturing lies and trying to stay relevant.

      • Zionism = EVIL

        British are the most two faced liars with no moral compass. They smile at your face and then backstab you in a Jew York minute.

        In the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as
        large as all of Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had
        decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew
        rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalized racism, and caused millions to die from starvation.

    • Zionism = EVIL

      Read the Indian Congress Party politicians Shahsi Tharoor’s book on the British plunder and loot of India, they ripped off $45 TRILLION in 1850 dollars from India in 200 years. When the criminal east India “company” arrived in India by deception and treachery, it was the richest country in the world and when the Brit scum were booted out in 1947, India was the poorest.

      Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India SHASHI THAROOR

  • You can call me Al

    Surely if they are called the Elgin Marbles ie their looting by Lord Elgin…….they are British, so go away Greece.

    What would you do with them anyway Greece ?, show your people the great past and history Greece had ?, I am not sure that will help at all, but it might make the people riot.

    • 1691

      Didn’t your mother tell you to keep what’s yours and not touch anything that belongs to someone else?

      • You can call me Al

        No. PS my first comment was supposed to be satirical, adding a little humour to the day.

        • 1691

          Well, now you know. :)

          We were both sarcastic but it is not a laughing matter.

          • You can call me Al

            hahaha.

    • mhtsaropinigitakis

      Look that idiot…he is talking to a country lol…!!

      • You can call me Al

        I was being satirical you dozy git.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      none need to show us our past Al. Maybe you should learn yours and understand how small as a nation you always been and with no substance beside been worst than gypsies in your wondering around the world and remember what goes around comes around.

  • Xoli Xoli

    British are good thief’s from ancient time.from brown and black African body parts,diamonds, gold,copper,platinum, zink,most recently loot,statues in Iraq and Palmery in Syria statues are in British museums and vaults.From plants, trees,island,peace of land in Argentina are in their positions.But their preach for fake democracy which is in fact colonialism.British trophy hunting is killing black Africans and claiming their thought it is a baboon who wanted to attack them.By so doing their are excused under tourism immunity.Most of British experiments on YouTube so the world how to break in cars,how to attack and kill.From carjack to intruding.

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    I don’t recall anybody bitching about it in the 19th Century.

    • mhtsaropinigitakis

      oh really? you were there mr Ancient idiot?

      • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

        You cannot smear 21st Century “identity politics” on the 19th Century when said execration did not exist.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          I did not figure you out for that much of a moron but then surprises always reveal ones character.

  • Xoli Xoli

    British are Lords of the ringsIn mission their used to teach us that their angels send by God.So we must be on look out for bright stones (diamonds)which have falled from heaven and give them back because their will return the stone by the sea to in Britain.

  • Sinbad2

    In 50 years it will be Asians looting Britain, and the British will be wanting their crown jewels back.
    What goes around comes around.

  • Zionism = EVIL

    The British low life’s have been stealing from everyone from China, India, Greece, Persia to Africa. The Rothschild Jew plunderers and their puppet house of Windsor simply have klepto genes.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    The evil Anglo/Zionist are nothing other then mass murdered and thievers of other peoples indigenous home lands. Everyone should unconditionally unite against the Anglo/Zionist, once we liberate all of our heritages from the Anglo/Zionist, then we will all be healthier and happier with our birth-rights fully restored.