February 28, 2013
The British Prime Minster’s comments last week on the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond & the Parthenon Marbles have been criticised by Eddie O’Hara, the chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.
PM’s concept is simplistic and indadequate, say critics
Prime minister David Cameron has been condemned for a lack of understanding following his statement last week about restitution of cultural objects.
Cameron was answering questions on a state visit to the site of the Amritsar Massacre, where British troops killed 379 Indians, when he was asked if he thought that the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is part of the Crown Jewels, should be returned as goodwill gesture. The prime minister said he didn’t believe in “returnism” and that wasn’t the right approach.
He added: “It’s the same question with the Elgin Marbles and all these other things. I think the right answer is for the British Museum and other cultural institutions in Britain is to do exactly what they do, which is link up with museums all over the world to make our collections – to make sure that the things that we have and look after so well – are properly shared with people around the world.”
But the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles has censured the prime minster for conflating the two cases.
Eddie O’Hara, chairman of the committee, said that each case must be judged by its merits.
“In the case of the Parthenon marbles it is the probably unique demand for the reunification of the integral sculptured components of a Unesco world heritage monument, acquired in circumstances that were at best dubious, in an act of cultural vandalism.”
He added: “The fact that he conjoined two such widely differing cases as the Koh-i-Noor diamond and the Parthenon Marbles, and the fact that he called the latter the “Elgin” Marbles suggests that he does not appreciate what a simplistic and inadequate concept ‘returnism’ is.”
- The British Museum refute their own floodgates argument & Cameron’s idea of returnism? : March 4, 2013
- David Cameron, Modern India, Returnism, the Koh-i-Noor & the Parthenon Sculptures : February 22, 2013
- The Koh-i-noor diamond, the Parthenon Marbles & the Benin Bronzes – three disputed artefact cases : February 24, 2013
- Greece responds to David Cameron’s comments on the Parthenon Marbles : February 22, 2013
- Indian TV show asks David Cameron about returning the Koh-i-Noor diamond : September 29, 2010
- MP Keith Vaz asks British Government to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond : September 28, 2010
- David Cameron argues against returnism, stating that he does not support return of Parthenon Sculptures : February 21, 2013
- British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles appoints new chairman : January 5, 2011