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Rajoni

"Fight over the sculptures of the Parthenon" / DW analysis: The cancellation of the meeting between Sunak and his Greek counterpart Mitsotakis shows the hardening of the fronts between London and Athens

"Fight over the sculptures of the Parthenon" / DW analysis: The

 At the beginning of the year, the media announced the possibility of reaching an agreement in the dispute over the return of the ancient sculptures of the Acropolis. In January 2023 the British Museum in London confirmed discussions with Athens about their temporary handover. A little later the British government denied them and ruled out permanent return.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did not want to talk to his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis in London about the return of the Parthenon sculptures. So he canceled the scheduled meeting with him this week. Now there is even talk of a diplomatic scandal. British government member Mark Harper justified the cancellation of the meeting with the words that the British position cannot be shaken. The Elgin Marbles should remain part of the permanent collection at the British Museum, Haper told the BBC. Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis reacted angrily to the last-minute cancellation of the meeting. He said (28.11.2023) that he was angry. "Greece's positions on the issue of the Parthenon sculptures are known," Mitsotakis is quoted as saying by the German Press Agency, dpa. "I hoped to have the opportunity to discuss them with my British counterpart, as well as the main challenges of the international situation: Gaza, Ukraine, the climate crisis, migration. Mitsotakis again refused an alternative meeting with Sunak's deputy, Oliver Dowden, and expressed outrage.

Greece insists on the return of the "Elgin Marbles"

Before the cancellation of the meeting by Great Britain, the head of the Greek government announced that during his visit he would insist on the return of the sculptures of the Parthenon. "They just fit better in the Acropolis Museum, an avant-garde purpose-built museum," he told the BBC. The head of the Greek government also drew attention with this comparison: "Dividing this art treasure is the same as cutting the Mona Lisa, the world-famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, into two parts and exhibiting it in the Paris Louvre and the Museum British". At the same time he emphasized that Athens was interested in a partnership with the London museum.

The chairman of the museum's supervisory board, George Osborne, has recently spoken openly about lending it to Greece - on the condition that the Elgin Marbles be returned to London. But for Sunak, it's not about loans either. But a new wind seems to be blowing.

Të martën edhe gazeta konservatore “Times”, e cila më parë kishte mbështetur qëndrimin e qeverisë, bëri thirrje për kthimin e tyre: “Skulpturat e kanë vendin në Athinë”, thuhet në artikullin kryesor. Ato janë thelbësore për identitetin kulturor të Greqisë.

Vatikani kthen skulpturat e Partenonit

Në mars 2023 Vatikani i ktheu Athinës disa fragmente të frizës së Partenonit. Frizi fillimisht zbukuronte murin e sipërm të jashtëm të tempullit 2500 vjeçar të Partenonit në Akropolin e Athinës. Ai paraqet shumë figura dhe blatime për perëndeshën Athina me rastin e një procesioni për festën më të madhe, që zhvillohej në Athinën antike. Sot një pjesë e frizit ndodhet në Muzeun e Akropolit në Athinë dhe një pjesë më e madhe në Muzeun Britanik në Londër. Pjesët e tjera janë në pronësi të muzeve franceze, italiane, austrike dhe gjermane.

Në Britaninë e Madhe konsiderohet se 56 pjesët e frizës së Partenonit 75 metra të gjatë janë blerë ligjërisht. Greqia e kundërshton dhe thotë se ato janë vjedhur. Mosmarrëveshja rreth kësaj vazhdon prej një kohe të gjatë. Skulpturat e mermerit paraqesin skena të mitologjisë greke. Në Britaninë e Madhe ato janë mbiquajtur “Elgin Marbles”, sipas emrit të Lord Elgin, ambasadorit britanik në Perandorinë Osmane në Kostandinopojë. Ishte Elgin ai që hoqi figurat nga pjesa e jashtme e tempullit të Partenonit në Akropolin e Athinës në fillim të shekullit të 19-të. Ato u sollën në Britaninë e Madhe në marrëveshje me Perandorinë Osmane, e cila sundonte Greqinë në atë kohë.

Rikthimi ishte temë në fushatën zgjedhore të Mitsotakis

Mosmarrëveshja për kthimin ishte në fillim të vitit edhe një temë elektorale. Kryeministri grek Kyriakos Mitsotakis, i cili i rifitoi zgjedhjet në verën e vitit 2023, e bëri kthimin e frizës pjesë të strategjisë së fushatës tij elektorale. Së fundmi kryeministri foli për një “progres” dhe “ndjenjë dinamizmi”, ndërsa Muzeu Britanik nuk donte të pranonte se ishin zhvilluar bisedime për këtë temë.

Mbretëria e Bashkuar këmbëngul se i ka blerë ligjërisht skulpturat e mermerit. “Kjo pyetje është në qendër të debatit të kthimit”, thotë Alexander Herman, zëvendësdrejtor i Institutit për Art dhe Drejtësi dhe autor i librit “Restitution: The Return of Cultural Artefacts”, i botuar në vitin 2021. ” Kjo temë ka qenë në axhendën kulturore në Britaninë e Madhe dhe natyrisht në Greqi prej më shumë se 200 vjetësh”, thotë Herman për Deutsche Welle në një intervistë të vitit 2021.

Ndryshe nga Britania e Madhe debati i kthimit ka marrë vrull në shumë vende evropiane, madje edhe në SHBA. Muzeut Britanik i duhet të pranojë kritika për refuzimin deri më tani të të gjitha kërkesave për kthim. Ndërkohë Gjermania ka nisur t’i kthejë Nigerisë skulpturat e bronzëta Benin. Në Gjermani dhe Francë kthimi i objekteve nga kontekstet koloniale është tani një çështje e rëndësishme e politikës kulturore.

But even if the British Museum decides to return the pieces of the frieze to Greece, a national law must first be repealed. Until now the "British Museum Act" of 1963 has prevented the British Museum from handing over objects from its collections, because it considers the museum's holdings to be "national heritage". Thus the Parthenon frieze could end up in Greece only as a loan. But this is too little for Athens.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that there are no plans to change the law: "Our position on this issue has not changed", he said in December 2022 to Euronews. "Decisions about the care and management of the collections fall within the competence of the museum and its administrators. The Parthenon sculptures are legally the property of the administrators and are functionally independent from the government," added Sunak's spokesperson.

The cancellation of the meeting with his counterpart Mitsotakis proves that London has not moved an inch in this matter./DW