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?
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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