Letter: Time to give back the marbles

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have recently returned from a short trip to Greece, where I found the local people wonderfully hospitable and friendly, despite being sincerely aggrieved by the failure of successive British governments to return the ancient marbles taken from the Acropolis by Lord Elgin.

I do not see why we cannot make a special case for the return of these treasured relics to their rightful owners - the people of Greece.

While we know that modern Greece and its people are long removed from the ancient Hellenic, do we not still owe them a debt of gratitude for all they have given the world?

It is one thing to win the spoils of war, quite another to remove the cultural heritage of a nation suffering the oppression and humiliation of occupation.

Surely now, with the advent of a so-called "moral foreign policy", it is time for us to swiftly return these marbles, putting to rest the whole sorry affair, and in doing so, be the cause of national celebration in Greece, thus further increasing her respect for us as a natural friend and ally.

JULIAN McSWEENEY

London W2

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