Saturday, June 23, 2012

Defenders of the British Museum demolished in public debate over the Parthenon Marbles

Further compelling evidence of the British public's unerring instinct for reasonableness and sound ethical judgement was provided by a recent debate at Cadogan Hall (left) over whether the Parthenon Marbles — looted by Lord Elgin and still retained by the British Museum — should be returned to Athens. I've posted the YouTube edited highlights of the debate, organised by Intelligence Squared, below.

Speaking in favour of the motion for returning the Marbles to Athens were the Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George and the actor Stephen Fry; while opposing the motion were the Labour MP and historian Tristram Hunt and the USA-based British historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto. 

The debate was chaired by BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi in front of an invited audience of around 550 people.

THE MOTION:
Send Them Back: The Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens

Before the debate, the audience voted like this:
FOR: 196
AGAINST: 202
UNDECIDED: 158

After the debate, the audience voted like this:
FOR: 384 (+188)
AGAINST: 125 (-77)
UNDECIDED: 24 (-134)


Thus the motion to return the Parthenon Marbles to Athens was carried


Yet again, the public has made its opinion resoundingly clear on this issue. When will the British Museum acknowledge that its retention of the Marbles is no longer acceptable? 


The text of my paper on this subject, delivered at last week's Colloquy on the Parthenon Marbles at the London Hellenic Centre, is now online here, courtesy of Moving Universe.

1 comment:

Nikolaos Chatziandreou said...

That was a great talk, Tom. Nice, dense arguments, and to the point. Well done!