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EasyJet & the Parthenon Sculptures

It appears that not everyone is happy with the campaigns for the return of the Elgin Marbles [1] – and are using the press coverage of the campaigns support to spread their own mis-information on the subject. Before reading the below article, please note that: Elgin did not buy the marbles legitimately (or if he did he had no proof of this), the the world’s galleries are not going to be decimated (restitution claims in the US have only made the tiniest dent on collections) & that no one is attempting to re-write history – people merely want to correct what they believe is wrong.

Liverpool Echo [2]

Sorry Stelios, but you can’t have them back
Jan 31 2008 by Joe Riley, Liverpool Echo

EASYJET founder Stelios is backing a new campaign to return the Elgin Marbles – sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens – to Greece.

First step by the 40-year-old Greek Cypriot tycoon, worth £725m (with a little help from Scousers flying out of JLA), is sponsoring a Cambridge University debate.

Let’s hope the usual hysterical blah about “the greatest theft in history” is replaced by fact.

The 7th Earl of Elgin, ex- ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, actually carried out the greatest- ever salvage operation.

The 2,500-year-old sculptures, part of a frieze showing Greek warriors, had been badly vandalised by Christians and Muslims as the Parthenon passed from pagan temple, to church, to mosque.

In 1802, Elgin bought more than 50% of the relics from the occupying and uninterested Turks, and sold them on to the British government.

All legal and above board.

The sculptures now occupy an entire gallery at the British Museum – where they should stay as a prime tourist attraction – even for the enjoyment of incoming easyJet passengers.

Returning the marbles is not an option.

Any wholesale disbanding of our historic collections to pacify modern governments wanting to re-write history, or individuals with big enough cheque books to get noticed, would decimate most UK museums and art galleries.