Showing results 1 - 12 of 28 for the tag: David Cameron.

May 13, 2015

The new stakeholders of the Parthenon Marbles dispute

Posted at 1:14 pm in Elgin Marbles

By the end of this year, the two sides in the Parthenon Marbles restitution debate may be very different from what they were a year ago – although apart from that, nothing may have changed.

Earlier this year, Greece got a new government in the form of a coalition led by Syriza. Despite limited success so far in achieving their manifesto goals of removing Greece from the Austerity programme, they are still doing well in the polls. They have yet to speak in any detail about how they plan to deal with the Parthenon Marbles.

In London, Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum announced a few weeks ago that he would be standing down later this year. Various potential candidates have been mentioned in the press and I will try to look at the credentials of some of them in a future post.

Finally, in an unexpected outcome to what the opinion polls told us, Britain has a new government. The Conservative party now has an outright majority, so is no governing alone, without the support of the Liberal Democrats. I will make a more details post on the breakdown of who is in and out of the new British Parliament, but the situation at present does not look particularly promising for restitution cases. You can refer back to my previous post, to get a rough idea of where different parties stand on the issue.

David Cameron continues as Prime Minister and has in the past made his anti-restitution credentials clear, both in relation to the Parthenon Marbles, and in his responses to questions about other cases such as the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

Finally, Britain has a new Minister of Culture, John Whittingdale. His name may well already be familiar to many people, as he has chaired the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee since 2005.

During this time chairing the Select Committee, he has made clear his anti-restitution stance on various occasions in the form of responses to statements and questions about the Parthenon Marbles.

His voting pattern on other issues indicates that he does not follow a particularly progressive line, even when compared to his own party, so we should not expect him to introduce any grand initiatives favouring restitution any time soon.

Once again, this highlights the need for Greece to increase the pressure on the British Government. While this government is in power (for five years, unless something goes badly awry), they are unlikely to make any concessions towards returning the Marbles, unless their hand is forced. In the previous Parliament, DCMS rejected the request for UNESCO mediation and unfortunately, this sort of approach is unlikely to change.

Ed Vaizey continues in in the cabinet as the Minister specifically responsible for culture serving under John Whittingdale.

John Whittingdale, secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

John Whittingdale, secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

From:
Art Newspaper

John Whittingdale appointed Culture Secretary
Patrick Steel
11.05.2015

Former chairman of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee promoted to cabinet

John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP for Maldon, was today appointed secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

Whittingdale has overall responsibility for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which includes museums and galleries in England.
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December 3, 2014

Letter from IARPS to David Cameron about Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 12:03 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

David Hill, Chair of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, has written to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, urging him to accept the UNESCO offer for mediation on the Parthenon Sculptures issue.

From:
International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

The Rt. Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
70 Whitehall
London UK
SW1A 2AS

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to you as Chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures to urge the British Government and the British Museum to agree to a renewed offer by UNESCO to mediate the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures currently held in the British Museum.

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has volunteer committees in sixteen countries that are dedicated to the return of the Parthenon Sculptures from London to be reunited with the other surviving sculptures in Athens. (www.parthenoninternational.org)
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January 20, 2014

IARPS support for the UNESCO mediation process to resolve the Marbles deadlock

Posted at 11:13 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, International Association

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has expressed to David Cameron, the need for Britain to support the request from UNESCO for mediation on the Parthenon Sculptures issue.

From:
IARPS

A letter from the IARPS to the British Prime Minister

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to draw your attention to the world wide support for the Parthenon Sculptures held in the British Museum to be returned to Greece.
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December 6, 2013

Once wars are over, shouldn’t the spoils of war be returned as an act of reconciliation?

Posted at 2:07 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Following David Cameron’s questioning by the Chinese over disputed artefacts in the British Museum, this article looks at some of the other similar cases & how perhaps the ownership of cultural artefacts needs rethinking.

David Cameron signed up on Weibo - a Chinese Social Network

David Cameron signed up on Weibo – a Chinese Social Network

From:
Khaleej Times (UAE)

Render unto Caesar…
6 December 2013

BRITISH PRIME Minister David Cameron’s visit to China has evoked at least one reaction from the Middle Kingdom that is going to find resonance in many parts of the world. It is the demand that Britain return the Chinese national treasures looted by the British Army during the sacking of the Forbidden City following a peasant uprising in the 19th century.

The British Museum alone has 23,000 such trophies lifted after an eight-nation Western troop brutally put down the uprising. Thousands more plundered works of art lie scattered around the world. The British Museum has refused to hand over its ill-gotten gains, claiming they have now become part of world heritage and can be enjoyed by more people if they are in a centrally located place like London. If location is the criterion, then the UAE can lay one of the best claims to housing the looted collection.
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March 4, 2013

The British Museum refute their own floodgates argument & Cameron’s idea of returnism?

Posted at 2:16 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

This post does not add much that has not already been mentioned in previous posts, but what it does add is rather interesting.

Now, for a long time, one of the most common arguments raised against the return of the Parthenon Marbles is what is known as the floodgates argument. Essentially, this boils down to the idea that you can’t return anything from museums, because if you do it will open the floodgates & by the end of the process the museums will be emptied. This argument has been proven to be wrong many times over – artefacts already return nowadays on a regular basis & don’t open these floodgates. Furthermore, in places such as the US, where there have been laws relating to the return of native American artefacts for some time now, even museums with large ethnographic collections (i.e. those most at risk under this argument) have found that only a small proportion of their collection actually ends up having to leave the museum.

I have often highlighted (as have many others), that each case involving cultural property is very different to the other cases – here though, the British Museum takes the opportunity to point out the same thing. So… surely, if each case is completely different, then the floodgates argument can not exist in its current form. Why, if this were the case, would it be possible for one case to set a precedent that would immediately affect entirely different cases?

From:
BBC News

1 March 2013 Last updated at 11:34
Parthenon Marbles and Koh-i-Noor: Cameron opposes ‘returnism’
By Trevor Timpson BBC News

The prime minister has been criticised after he opposed calls to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and the Koh-i-Noor diamond to India.

Mr Cameron was asked if he supported returning the diamond on 21 February when visiting Amritsar in India.
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British recalcitrance over returning the Kohinoor

Posted at 9:23 am in Similar cases

More coverage of proposals for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to India, following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks during his visit to India.

From:
India America Today

British Recalcitrance on Restoring Kohinoor to India
Article | February 28, 2013 – 10:06am | By Neera Kuckreja Sohoni

San Francisco – On February 20, 2013, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron placed a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar thereby becoming the first serving British prime minister to voice regret about one of the British Raj’s bloodiest atrocities in India, entailing the massacre of unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919.

On the downside, Cameron rejected any possibility of Britain returning the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, embedded in the British Queen’s crown and on display in the Tower of London.
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February 26, 2013

The Koh-i-noor and promoting Britain’s trade ties with India

Posted at 2:18 pm in Similar cases

David Cameron’s trip to India was ostensibly to promote trade ties with Britain. Reading between the lines, this could be seen more as: We see lots of money sloshing around in India nowadays & we want to see if we can get a slice of it.

The questions about the Koh-i-noor diamond can hardly have been unexpected though. Afterall, It happened on his previous visit to the country & it is well known that India would like the gem to be returned. This makes it all the more surprising that his response sounded as though little real thought had gone into it.

If Cameron wanted to promote trade with India, surely a gesture of agreeing to return the Diamond could form a great catalyst for this – although I have a feeling that due to its position in the crown jewels, the Prime Minister would probably not have the authority to return it anyway. At the end of the day though, its removal from the Crown Jewels would not be a massive loss for Britain – financially, our situation would be the same with or without it.

Like many other restitution cases, the Koh-i-noor diamond is a complex one. This editorial piece raises some of the issues, but there are many others on both sides. The article highlights the fact that Pakistan has allowed much of its own heritage to crumble & deteriorate in recent years – therefore, does it deserve to have other items returned. I would counter this argument though – there are no laws currently that allow other countries to remove artefacts for their own safety (without permission from the original owners), so should the fact that the artefact is already out of the hands of the original owners be used to promote such a viewpoint, which would not normally be considered a legal possibility.

From:
Dawn

24 Feb 2013
Jewel in the crown

THOUGH David Cameron may have been keen to promote trade ties on his recent visit to India, the British prime minister turned down a long-standing demand to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Mr Cameron felt returning the dazzling gem would not be “sensible”. Questions over the Koh-i-Noor’s rightful ownership stem from the legacy of Britain’s colonial past. Originally mined in southern India centuries ago, the fabled stone changed hands several times, passing through the treasuries of the subcontinent’s Hindu, Muslim and Sikh kings before being presented to Queen Victoria by the colonial government of India. Considered a trophy from perhaps the most prized of Britain’s realms, the diamond is today part of the crown jewels firmly ensconced in the Tower of London. But Britain was not the only European colonial power to have appropriated the cultural property of others. More recently, there was widespread looting of Iraq’s historical treasures following the 2003 United States invasion; the Americans did little as gangs of looters made off with priceless treasures in the anarchy following Saddam Hussein’s fall.

It is valid to ask if historical artefacts whisked away from former colonies and now sitting in Western museums will receive proper care if returned to their countries of origin. We in Pakistan, for example, have allowed our heritage to crumble. Also, it is true that ancient collections in the Louvre or the British Museum have become part of world heritage. But how many of the world’s people can simply hop on a plane to enjoy the treasures taken from their countries? Ethically, there is weight in the argument that treasures looted in the age of empire be returned to their countries of origin to right historical wrongs and allow the people of former colonies to better appreciate their own heritage, while placing responsibility on those countries to preserve the artefacts.

February 24, 2013

The Koh-i-noor diamond, the Parthenon Marbles & the Benin Bronzes – three disputed artefact cases

Posted at 7:31 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku writes about British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments on the Koh-i-noor diamond & the Parthenon Marbles during his trip to India.

From:
Kwame Opoku (by email)

DAVID CAMERON RULES OUT THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES AND THE KOHINOOR DIAMOND TO THEIR COUNTIES OF ORIGIN.

On the last day of his trade visit to India, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, ruled out the return of the Kohinoor Diamond to India and added that the same applied to the Parthenon /Elgin Marbles. (1)

Cameron thought it was best that these objects be left where they are in the care of the British Museum
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The Koh-i-Noor – Whose history is it a part of & who should own it?

Posted at 7:04 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

David Cameron’s point of view on the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond has had a lot of coverage in recent days. In many ways, the view that he gives is very similar to the line taken by the British Museum on items such as Parthenon Marbles & the Benin Bronzes – that the British are ideally placed to display these artefacts as part of collections from all corners of the globe, where they can be seen by many people. This reasoning always reeks of imperialism to me however – it is an entirely self-appointed role – the artefacts weren’t generally taken with this purpose in mind originally & giving the great museums of the world this role was never something decided by the original owners of the artefacts either. Surely, if the aim is for these works to be seen by as many people as possible, then India would be an ideal location anyway. England may once have been at the centre of the world, but with the rise of the Middle East, South East Asia & China, India is ideally placed to be a hub linking these regions. There is little in reality to link the Koh-i-noor to England, although it should be remembered that is an object that has always moved from place to place. No doubt, one day it will move on, beyond England’s borders, but where it ends up at that stage, is ass yet unknown.

From:
Daily Star (Bangladesh)

Sunday, February 24, 2013
Sunday Pouch
Who owns history, Mr. Cameron?
Ashfaqur Rahman

Last Week, British Prime Minister David Cameron, during his official visit to India, made a disconcerting statement in Amritsar. He said his country would not return the 105 karat Kohinoor diamond, one of the largest in the world, which was taken in 1850 from South Asia as a “gift” to the British monarch Queen Victoria. He reiterated that the “diamond in the Royal Crown is ours.” “I do not believe in returnism, as it were. I don’t think it is sensible. The right answer is that the British Museum and other cultural institutions around the world should make sure that the things which we have and look after so well are properly shared with people around the world,” he said.

The history of the Kohinoor diamond is a fascinating one. It was mined in the thirteenth century in Andhra Pradesh, and was initially in possession of King Prataparudra in that region. Kohinoor stayed with the Mughals for a long time. Emperor Shahjahan affixed it on his Peacock Throne to add glamour to the piece. The Kohinoor fell into difficult times when it was seized by Persian King Nadir Shah when he attacked Delhi.
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February 22, 2013

Diamonds are forever… ours… David Cameron’s the anti-returnist’s reasoning behind keeping Koh-i-noor

Posted at 7:40 pm in Similar cases

Most common phrases we here about diamonds today (not least the one used in the title of this post) were created by the De Beers cartel – an organisation that’s main aim is to boost the price & sales of diamonds around the world. Even without De Beers though, diamonds have always been highly valued & sought after by the wealthy.

The fact is though, that there is a long story to the Koh-i-noor – it only became British property relatively recently & was taken in circumstances that many today would see as morally / ethically questionable. It had been valued by others for a long time before Britain got hold of it & various countries still claim that it is theirs. Many analogies / parallels can be drawn with this case, although I personally feel that the comparison to the Parthenon Marbles is a particularly poor one & merely serves to highlight how uneducated David Cameron is about both of the cases.

That said though, the cases can still both be equally valid – and something needs to be done to work towards resolving them rather than merely brushing off requests with flippant remarks.

From:
First Post

Diamonds are forever… British. Why Cameron really can’t give back the Koh-i-noor
by Sandip Roy Feb 22, 2013

Diamonds are forever and they are for your EYES only.

So India, you can look but don’t even dream about getting the Koh-i-noor back.

Instead David Cameron has given India a parting gift – a post-colonial word – returnism.
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Greece responds to David Cameron’s comments on the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 6:59 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Costas Tzavaras, Greece’s minister responsible for cultural affairs has responded to David Cameron’s comments that he does not support the return of the Elgin Marbles.

From:
Athens Macedonian News Agency

Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-02-21
Culture minister on Parthenon Marbles issue

AMNA — Greece and the United Kingdom have a different approach on the issue of the Parthenon Marbles, alternate Education Minister responsible for cultural affairs Costas Tzavaras said on Thursday in reply to statements by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

There is a clear “difference in approach and conception separating us (Greece) from the United Kingdom on the issue of the Parthenon Marbles”, he said.
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Could Koh-i-noor diamond be leased back to India?

Posted at 2:50 pm in Similar cases

Following David Cameron’s comments that there were no plans to return the Koh-i-noor diamond, a group in Mumbai is proposing that India could leas the diamond from Britain rather than it being returned. Similar deals has been proposed in the past for the Parthenon Marbles, where they could return to Greece as a long term loan, to avoid the anti-deaccessioning clauses in the British Msueum act – although, all such proposals have been rejected by the museum.

I do not know what the legal status of the Koh-i-noor is. Unlike the Parthenon Sculptures, it is not held by a museum, but is part of the crown jewels. Now, this is a far more unique situation & I have no idea of the legal framework attached to items such as this belonging to the Crown – so whether any sort of loan is possible without changes in the law is unclear. If anyone knows more about this, please clarify the details for me.

You can vote for the return of the Koh-i-noor on the Made In India website.

From:
Times of India

‘Kohinoor must be given to India on lease’
TNN | Feb 22, 2013, 03.46 AM IST

MUMBAI: A citizens’ group has provided a unique solution to the tug-of-war over the Kohinoor diamond. It has suggested to the British Prime Minister that the UK government lease it to India for a period of 25 years.

“We do appreciate the safety and preservation that you have offered to the Kohinoor,” a letter from Shailendra Singh, head of Made in India, to British PM David Cameron says, before going on to offer a solution: the British government can lease the Kohinoor back to India for 25 years. The organization had asked Indian citizens to vote for a petition on its website, http://www.iammadeinindia.com, asking for the return of the gem to India.
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