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My letter to THE GUARDIAN (“Marbles in Exile”)

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 @ 9:42 am
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Posted in  Creative, My Writings

As am writing my Discussion chapter about mobility between countries/cultures etc, there is a HOT debate again in British newspapers about the Greek Marbles of the Parthenon (Elgin vandalised them and they were shipped to London over a century ago) due to the official opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens this coming Sunday where there is space for them to return ‘home’. In response to those publicities, i sent a letter to the GUARDIAN yesterday, as per below:

FOR THE ‘LETTERS’ SECTION in ‘THE GUARDIAN’

“I have been reading several articles (for example, the one by Stephen Moss, published on Monday 15th June 09, titled ‘Britain dashes Greek hopes over Parthenon marbles’ in the ‘Culture’ section) about the Marbles of the Parthenon, currently displayed at the British Museum in London.

I am a Greek (Hellenida, to be more accurate) counsellor, currently conducting PhD research in cross-cultural counselling at the University of Manchester.I am also an archaeologist and was born, grew up and studied in Athens, next to the Acropolis, spending numerous hours in the company of the Parthenon, listening to its ‘whispers’. I reassure you that I have not ‘lost my marbles’ but Athens has!

In response to this ‘debate’ in the Guardian, I would appreciate if you could publish this letter, together with my poem…the Marbles have a home and that is in Athens. May this poem speak on its own:

MARBLES IN EXILE

I saw you posing under the dark sky
At the British museum
Yearning for the blue sky
Of the Acropolis in Athens

I see the Lapiths and the Centaurs
The Caryatid of the Erechtheion
Pieces of the Propylaia
And damaged scenes of the Gods

Oh my Gods and Goddesses!

You were attacked by Elgin
Sold by a Sultan at the time
I now wanted to kidnap you
Become a ‘thief’ of my own belongings

The vandalism was named ‘protection’
Rumours say: ‘Greeks cannot maintain you’
As if any ‘orphanage’ is better nurturer
Than the natural mother

I am far away from the motherland
And so are you
I need no permission to go back
But you do, though you are not orphaned

You are a symbol of democracy
An artistic masterpiece
You are one of the wonders of the world
And yet you are in exile
Only Byron was on our side
But he ‘lost his marbles’ one day
You are admired by tourists
Ignorant of your grief, yet proud

Here I am in academia
Daring say a true story
The Caryatid whispers slowly:
‘It is time to go home’

You are giving me courage
For challenging an authority
You have survived several atrocities
That is your real victory

THANK YOU,

Regards,

F. C.

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