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Bring Them Back…

The Bring Them Back [1] campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles, sponsored by Metaxa has already achieved quite a bit of media attention [2] – no doubt due in part to the clever yet amusing video that they have produced.

Heritage Key [3]

Bring Them Back Campaign Takes Big Ben Clock Hostage in Exchange for Elgin Marbles
Submitted by Ann on Tue, 05/25/2010 – 09:48

I you go sightseeing in London after a night out, stare up at Big Ben to find its clock missing, you might conclude you’ve overdone it on the Metaxa. But no: according to the new campaign video from bringthemback.org, Britain’s best-known clock was taken by Greek multi-millionaire Aristotle Elginiadis. In a month’s time the video – a call for the return of the Elgin Marbles (what else) – has amassed nearly half a million YouTube views, with little sign of its popularity waning.

The campaign video kicks off with a breaking news report: Big Ben’s clock has been stolen! Avid reporter Elena Katritsi quickly traces the timepiece to the Mediterranean villa of multi-millionaire Elginiadis, who isn’t shy to confess his ‘art theft’. Elginiadis says he took the Big Ben clock to protect it from London’s worsening pollution problems. The clock is a world-famous monument, it should be treated as such, and surely there’s less air pollution in a seaside village in Greece? That the ‘thief’ is taking good care of the clock is quickly demonstrated, with the cutest house-maid cleaning the clock in the background (Detail you won’t want to miss!).

When Katritsi enquires if Elginiadis plans to return the clock to be reunited with Big Ben, the multi-millionaire responds he “might consider letting (England) borrow it for a few days.” I guess London will have to settle for a replica version for now?

Reporter Nikos Aliagas takes over for a more serious part of the video. “You might find this story amusing or implausible,” he says, “but this is the reality Greece is facing.” In the early 19th century Lord Elgin and his crew – presumably with permission from the Ottomans – removed a massive haul of friezes and statues from the Parthenon and transported them to Britain, using brute force (and explosives). Some say it was to protect them, as the ruling Ottoman government didn’t seem to care. Others say it was to bring some classical culture to Britain as an example.

Although the British Museum isn’t the only high profile ancient history museum that holds part of the Parthenon’s Marbles, the majority of the original sculptures and half of the frieze are housed in the museum, which refuses to return them.

Previous British reasonings for not returning the relics were that Athens did not have the necessary infrastructure to display and preserve them, an argument that has been swept off the table since the opening of the New Acropolis Museum. Its makers had the foresight to include enough spaces to house the British Museum’s marbles, putting replicas in their place for now: maybe Athens could send their replicas the other way as part of a deal?

Find out more about the campaign on http://bringthemback.org. And next time you feel severely hungover after too much Metaxa, console yourself with having indirectly contributed to the return of the Elgin Marbles (A less expensive and intoxicating way of supporting the campaign is by sharing the video on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else ‘social media’ you are using).

Disclaimer: – Opinion Piece! – Although I strongly believe the Elgin Marbles – especially the friezes – should be put on a plane home, this might not be the opinion of the entire Heritage Key editorial team. Actually, repatriation is one of the hot debates in the office, together with the ‘value of museums’, ‘to replica or not to replica’, ‘human remains’ and ‘photo permissions in museum’. If you know of any other alcohol-based cultural campaigns (not just a drunken museum visit) let us know in the comments below! Alcoholic beverages willing to sponsor me? Just contact me at ann [ta] heritage-key [tod] com. Absolut Antiquity would be a great theme! ;)