Popular British actor, writer and animator Stephen Fry has urged Britain to be “chic” and return the Parthenon sculptures, aka “Elgin Marbles”, to Greece, The Times reported.
Fry, who made the comments at the Hay Festival, reportedly said taking the ‘Elgin Marbles’ from occupied Greece was like an American taking the Eiffel Tower from Paris when the city was under German occupation and mocked the British Museum that the sculptures had been acquired. legally:
“We got it legally from the Turks. . . who were an occupying force.
“It would be as if our Stonehenge and Big Ben and the Stone of Scone all in one disappeared from our country for hundreds of years and finally returned to their place,” Fry told the Hay Festival.
Fry went on to say, which he mentioned several times, that returning the ‘marbles’ to Greece “would be an act that uses a word that we haven’t been able to use lately about acts of Britain: That Would Be Classy’ in stark contrast to Lord Elgin’s original act of vandalism:
“He ordered saws and literally hacked them,” Fry said. “If he had permission, the only evidence of any permission was that he could take traces of it to make casts, make molds and pick up anything that was already on the floor. But he brought saws and hacked huge elements, and took them to Britain.
“Even if he did, it was an occupying power, not the Greeks themselves, who granted it to him,” Fry said.
“It’s like an American saying, ‘Yeah, in 1941, I bought the Eiffel Tower from the German occupiers in Paris at the time.’ And when the French say can we get it back, ‘No, I just got it and bluntly, it’s mine.’ That’s what the British Museum said: it’s ours, we got it legally – from the Turks, who were an occupying force.
Fry, 64, added: ‘The British Museum has come up with all sorts of excuses, none of which are good enough. Firstly that they are entitled to it, secondly if they hadn’t taken care of it they would have been in a worse state, which may be true but that’s still no reason to keep it.
“If your friend has a fire in his house and you take his painting so it doesn’t burn, you can’t say I’m keeping them forever because if I hadn’t kept them they would be burned – they may as well have been burned at that time.