Letter:Return a nation's heritage of art

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The Independent Online
From Mr Vassiliki Andonarov and others

Sir: We are a class of 28 children in an Hellenic school. Studying about the statues of the Parthenon, we learned that unfortunately some of the statues are in various museums in the world, such as the British Museum. They are there not temporarily but permanently.

These statues were created by Hellenic sculptors in the fifth century BC, the century that historians call the "golden century of Pericles". They had remained on the rock of the Acropolis in Athens for centuries without being harmed, neither by time nor by man, Greek nor foreigner.

In 1453, Hellas was occupied by the Ottoman empire. Then in 1800, a foreigner, a British lord, called Lord Elgin, asked permission from the sultan, the enemy, the tyrant, to add some beautiful "pieces" to his collection. He took, among many other works, 14 metopes and 14 statues from the pediment of the Parthenon.

These are not just works of art, they are the history of a people, the blood they shed, their civilisation.

How would the British feel if they woke up one morning and found their favourite Nelson's Column, with the four lions around it, was no longer in Trafalgar Square, but a German had given permission to a Frenchman to transport them to Paris. That's how we feel about the injustice done to us.

Please return them to us. Please do not ignore our voice. It is a voice that rises from the right of a nation.

Yours sincerely,

VASSILIKI ANDONAROU

and 27 other pupils in the sixth grade of Keratsini primary school

Athens, Greece

Dr George Hewitt

Sir: We are a class of 28 children in an Hellenic school. Studying about the statues of the Parthenon, we learned that unfortunately some of the statues are in various museums in the world, such as the British Museum. They are there not temporarily but permanently.

These statues were created by Hellenic sculptors in the fifth century BC, the century that historians call the "golden century of Pericles". They had remained on the rock of the Acropolis in Athens for centuries without being harmed, neither by time nor by man, Greek nor foreigner.

In 1453, Hellas was occupied by the Ottoman empire. Then in 1800, a foreigner, a British lord, called Lord Elgin, asked permission from the sultan, the enemy, the tyrant, to add some beautiful "pieces" to his collection. He took, among many other works, 14 metopes and 14 statues from the pediment of the Parthenon.

These are not just works of art, they are the history of a people, the blood they shed, their civilisation.

How would the British feel if they woke up one morning and found their favourite Nelson's Column, with the four lions around it, was no longer in Trafalgar Square, but a German had given permission to a Frenchman to transport them to Paris. That's how we feel about the injustice done to us.

Please return them to us. Please do not ignore our voice. It is a voice that rises from the right of a nation.

Yours sincerely,

VASSILIKI ANDONAROU

and 27 other pupils in the sixth grade of Keratsini primary school

Athens, Greece

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