The Chicago-based Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) has launched an online petition in an effort to coerce the British Museum to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece — nearly two centuries since they were “acquired” by Lord Elgin.
HALC’s petition comes at a time when Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that he would request the British government to “loan” the marbles to Greece for its 2021 bicentennial celebration of the war of independence against the Ottoman Empire.
The petition, titled “Bring Them Back Home: Return the Parthenon Marbles Permanently to Greece,” includes the following message from the organization to the British Museum’s board of trustees:
Dear Board of Trustees of the British Museum,
Please return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. It would be a welcomed act of friendship, atonement, and an expression of faith in the future of the cradle of democracy. Until their permanent return, please approve any request by the Greek government to have these works of art displayed in their home country during Greece’s landmark bicentennial anniversary of its fight for independence.
HALC announced the petition via Facebook.
The full petition text follows:
Greece’s new prime minister Kyriakos Mitostakis is in the process of issuing a formal request to have the stolen Parthenon Marbles “loaned” to Greece, while reiterating its call to have the sculptures permanently returned. In exchange, the prime minister is offering to loan the British Museum treasures which have never been seen outside of Greece.
This month, France returned a marble piece of the Parthenon which had been on display at the Louvre for 200 years, in exchange for such a temporary display of precious Greek artifacts. The Greek government hopes the Board of Trustees of the British Museum will follow suit.
The British Museum, however, has said that it would refuse a loan unless Greece relinquishes its ownership rights and acknowledges the British Museum’s ownership.
The British Museum should allow Greece to display the Marbles for its upcoming bicentennial independence anniversary and should ultimately return the stolen artifacts to Greece.”
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