Latest Developments - the tide is turning! Support now from the conservative British press.

See who we are at IPSACI and what we are doing

Who we are, what we are doing, from our presence at the Oxford Union, to Sydney University's International Parthenon Colloquy, to speeches at the New Acropolis Museum and talks with MP's in Parliament in London, street protests and declarations from inside the British Museum.  We are fighting to reunite the looted Parthenon Sculptures in Athens.You will see our videos, press interviews, campaign declarations, international awards and press coverage below. Britain is our friend, our battle is to change the Museum Law in order to reunite  the  colonial booty acquisitions that fill the Duveen Room in the BM with Greece's magnificent and mutilated by Lord Elgin   Parthenon Sculptures, carved to celebrate the victory of democracy  over the forces of darkness at the battle of Marathon that decided the future and freedom of the western world. Help us and we will get the job done as we have achieved much since we started the campaign. Public opinion in England and around the world is on our side, now we need the final push. Please read the posts below.


2018 – The year that changed the antiquities and trophy museum world. The Return is in sight now.


In the last year there were numerous, many unexpected, breakthroughs in the worldwide campaign for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures and other looted or stolen antiquities. It was the first time in over 200 years that the solid wall of colonial era thinking holding the collections of colonial trophy museums started to crack in multiple places. We can look forward in 2019 to moving close to the final decision by various European governments and museums to return unethically acquired collections. 2019 is finally, what we predicted, the dawn of a new day!


Important advances in 2018 –


1. Jeremy Corbyn, the UK leader of the opposition, states that the Parthenon Sculptures belong to Greece and will be returned when the Labour Party comes to power.


2. Geoffrey Robertson QC ,the well known UK lawyer and lecturer, whose practice, Doughty Street Chambers, includes Amal Clooney, declared, independently, that Brexit was the opportunity Greece had to demand the return from the British Museum. Independently, IPSACI, our organisation, through an interview of its chairman with Deutsche Welle, explained that Brexit was the instrument where Greece could impose on Britain the return of the Sculptures, as Greek parliamentary approval is a condition for Brexit ratification. Alexis Mantheakis was immediately attacked, as expected by the tabloid British press as “blackmailing” the UK and the call was taken up by other media, showing the strength of the Brexit veto proposed. The interview was also responded to negatively by the Greek state which had never demanded the return since 1981, put out an announcement that “the Brexit link was the opinion of certain private individuals and did not mirror Greek policy which “was to continue with gentle diplomacy”. A Parthenon campaign group also turned against this unique opportunity to force the return by stating that our ”Brexit link was a silly statement”. There was no further comment when Spain used the Brexit opportunity to demand concessions on Gibraltar, major sovereignty demands, from Britain, which were conceded.


3. The Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos mentions the Parthenon Sculptures ethical issue to Prince Charles during an official dinner in Athens.


4. The Greek Prime Minister brings up the Parthenon Sculptures return issue to Theresa May during his visit to 10 Downing Street, the home of the British Prime Minister. This falls short of our consistent demand for a direct official request by the Greek government to the British government for the return, but it was a step in the right direction and reported by the world media


5. IPSACI receives two UNESCO clubs of Piraeus and Islands awards for its work in furthering world cultural issues and for its work in supporting and organising its world-wide campaign for the Return of the Sculptures.


6. The British Museum, together with the Louvre and German trophy museums have their case for their colonial collections to be named as “shared heritage” put forward by a director of UNESCO. The immediate outcry from African delegates present stopped this initiative. The attempt to have UNESCO ratify a joined ownership status was the latest attempt for the museums to find an acceptable identity among the growing protests and objections to their looted collections.


7. Though the lost opportunity by Greece to use Brexit for the return, Brexit worked in a different way to push forward the campaign. Brexit negotiations created acrimony and tensions between Britain and the EU leadership. As a result the unified front presented by the Louvre, the British Museum and the German Museums was weakened considerably.


8. Emanuel Macron, the French President, promised the return to African former colonies of thousands of looted and stolen artefacts. The release of a study commissioned by the French government recommended the outright return without conditions of artefacts to Africa. This move angered museums and dealers but “the cat is out of the bag” and European artefacts will without doubt follow soon. We can look forward to the return of the Greek artefacts in the Louvre, especially the Parthenon items there and probably, if demanded, the return of several iconic statues which were acquired by France by underhand methods, one only after two hundred Greek protesting island citizens trying to halt the export of the statue were fired on and killed by French soldiers from a military vessel on which the statue was being loaded in Greece for France.


9. The huge Belgian Colonial Museum has just completed ten years of “decolonisation” of its collections and similar steps are being taken in other European museums today. The trend against holding colonial booty collections is taking root across Europe’s major museums.


10. The British Museum organised talks about which of the collections it has are ”stolen”, an amazing turnaround since they never admitted to any unethical collections being at their Russell Square premises.


11. Latest reports are that the British Museum and others in Britain have appointed committees to study the provenance of artefacts in their possession to identify which ones may be considered as looted or stolen or unethically obtained. This is a very big advance for us as there is now an acceptance of the fact that their many of their collections are booty, or trophy collections, acquired without the consent of the creators or host country.


12. The British Museum which for decades has declared it has protected the Parthenon Sculptures better than the Greeks were embarrassed when photographs of a leaking roof and buckets next to the Parthenon Sculptures appeared in the world press showing flooding of the Duveen Hall and a filthy skylight. Photos were released by a visitor who in the summer showed that the airconditioning of the Parthenon Rooms was inadequate and a side door was left open to bring in cooler air from the street with its traffic pollution outside. The new Acropolis Museum with its microfiltered state of the art controlled atmosphere, huge glass view to the Parthenon and modern technology and architecture stands as an incontrovertible argument that the Sculptures should be there in Greece.


13. In December the Greek foreign ministry artefacts and antiquities expert, lawyer Dr Artemis Papathanassiou, introduced a motion at the UN general Assembly in New York to declare the protection of conflict and other unethically acquired artefacts and antiquities to be protected items to be returned. The motion also mentioned that proceeds from antiquity sales have been used to finance terrorism and conflicts. The Greek motion was carried in the UN General Assembly with no vetoes, and with 105 countries supporting the motion. A huge step forward for looted collections and for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece!


14. For the first time the flagship of the British conservative press, traditionally opposed to any restitution claim, the Sunday Times, ran a wonderful supportive article saying that the Parthenon Sculptures should be given back to the Greeks because they Sculptures are theirs! This now puts political voices from both sides of the spectrum in Great Britain on our side, a huge advance in press and public opinion support.


15. at IPSACI ( continue our world wide efforts on multiple levels, lectures, street activities, lobbying, press interviews, video production, talks, as we did with our introductory speaker (our chairman) at the Oxford Union debate on colonial item restitution. Debate won! We als continue on social media and all round involvement of our treasurer and cofounder Alan Smith.


16. Thanks to our thousands of supporters around the world and to those close to us who have given contributions to help us, particularly Alan Smith, Professor Eric Wainwright of Canberra, Penny Kondea of Athens, and Dr Glenn Havskjold of Stanford.


This then “was the year that was”, when the whole anti-restitution dam started to crack in multiple places and the momentum will now not stop as there are too many voices, groups, and organisations demanding ethical curating be enforced by the trophy museums. We expect 2019 to be the year that the Parthenon Sculptures issue is settled finally with Britain and the looted sculptures be returned to their rightful owners to be reunited in the magnificent New Acropolis Museum below the Acropolis.


In Athens then! 

Oxford Union debate

Alexis Mantheakis, chairman of IPSACI deconstructs the British Museum's arguments

UNESCO plaque and medal. Honouring Alexis Mantheakis for his cultural contribution to Humanity and to Mankind and for his specially important efforts for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures.Veakio Amphitheatre, Piraeus, 27/9/2017

Receiving the medal and award from the Unesco clubs of Piraeus for international work done on behalf of IPSACI for culture and the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures

Regarding the Rodin exhibition claim by the British Museum's Director



Our Reply to the Director of the British Museum, Dr Fischer as he seeks new reasons to justify the Parthenon Collection there.

Η απάντηση μας στον Dr Fischer, τον Γερμανό διευθυντή του Βρετανικού Μουσείου, που ανέβασε έκθεση με έργτου Rodin και τα Γλυπτά μας, λέγοντας ότι καλώς είναι τα Γλυπτά του Παρθενώνα στο Λονδίνο "γιατί έτσι εμπνεύστηκε ο γλύπτης να δημιουργήσει τα γλυπτά του".

Statement by the IPSACI Chairman and Committee board-

“The British Museum is clearly experiencing an identity crisis, burdened with collections acquired by force or from subjugated nations for which there is rising international pressure for restitution. The Rodin argument is the latest of a series of failing efforts to cast itself as an ethical custodian of an unethically acquired collection- it can't be done."

Yours Sincerely, 
Alexis Mantheakis,
Chairman and co-founder of the International Parthenon Sculptures Action Committee Inc (NZ)



New York Times CEO says Brexit allows Greece to force return of the Sculptures

Mark Thomson, NYT CEO

"Πολιτικά θεμιτό και αναμενόμενο η Ελλάδα να χρησιμοποιήσει το BREXIT ως μοχλός επιστροφής των Μαρμάρων του Παρθενώνα "! New York Times Chief Mark Thomson at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation NYT-Kathimerini Democracy Forum yesterday -"It is expected and permissable politically for Greece to use Brexit leverage to get back the Parthenon Marbles."

Αυτή ήταν η απάντηση σε ερώτηση μου χθες στον Βρετανό Πρόεδρο της New York Times, Mark Thomson, εάν θα ήταν αναμενόμενο και πολιτικά επιτρεπτό να πιέσουμε την Βρετανία να την υποχρεώσουμε να επιστρέψει τα κλεμμένα μας γλυπτά με το BREXIT. This was Mark Thomson's reply to my question to him at the forum yesterday afternoon at the Niarchos Foundation forum.

Deutche Welle interview with Alexis Mantheakis regarding the Brexit  Sculptures opportunity


Brexit is the opportunity for the Return

Brexit is a unique opportunity for Greece to finally get back the looted Parthenon Sculptures. All 27 European national Parliaments must ratify the conditions for a smooth exit of Britain from the European Union.

Greece can now place its demand on the table as a condition for signing the Brexit conditions Great Britain wants. It is the only opportunity to impose its will for the Restitution of the holy artefacts ripped off the Parthenon Temple by Lord Elgin that has presented itself since the magnificent sculptures were removed. 

Let us all work to convince the Greek government to use this historical and unique opportunity.

Parthenon Groups come together over Brexit opportunity

The exception was the British Committee where Dame .... commented that our idea (and that of the eminent lawyer Geoffrey Robertson Q.C.  to use Brexit instead of diplomacy) was "silly"... the movement has always had minor incidents of discord, but never serious enough to slow down the momentum of the volunteers around the world and those who support the return. We will respond to the arguments of those who parrot the positions of the British Museum, a repository of colonial and Empire booty, with the facts. Diplomacy has failed miserably for 200 years as have all polite contacts with the British government. Only persuasion will work.

After the debate at the Oxford Union, with the president of the Union, Noah Lachs (on th right, next to me), and other members.

Latest News


Oxford Union Votes for Return of Colonial Era Lifted Cultural Artifacts

Oxford Union debate - the motion for the return of colonial artifacts was carried by an overhwelming majority!

I was privileged to be the introductory speaker on behalf of IPSACI at the debate at the Oxford Union and to present the case for the repatriation of colonial-era looted artefacts.

The other speakers were -

Against -
Dr James Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust

Dr Sabine Haag, General Director of the Kunsthistorische Museum of Ethnology and Curtor of the Chamber of Art and the Treasury.

For -
Dr Zahi Hawaas - World renowned archaeologist, former Minister of Antiquities and Director of Excavations at Giza and The Valley of Kings in Egypt.

Wim Pijbes - former Director fo the Rijksmuseum, Board Member of the Rembrandt Society, Director of Voorlinden Museum.

We won the debate by 160 -106 votes.

The Oxford Union, under the Presidency of Mr Noah Oliver Lachs proved to be wonderful hosts and the audience were lively, participated in the discussion, and finally voted in favour of restitution!

Next week Stephen Hawking will be the speaker.

Thanks also to my fellow Parthenon Sculptures committee campaigner Alan Smith who helped make it happen! Also to the corporate sponsor of the debate who, it was a pleasure to note at the venue, was a Greek entity, the METKA energy company owned by the Mytilineos family who were present.

July 25, 2016

Oxford Union invites the representative of the International Parthenon Sculptures Action Committee to speak at the debate on the return of colonial era cultural items

The president of the Oxford Union, the premier debating society in the world which has hosted speakers such as Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, US presidents, leading scientists, politicians, and entertainers at its debates has recently invited IPSACI chairman Alexis Mantheakis to speak at the debate in November in favour of the return of removed colonial-era artifacts.

This is a very significant forum which has the world's and media attention, and an important opportunity for the argument for Greek case for the restitution of the Parthenon Scultpures looted by Lord Elgin two hundred years ago in Athens to be heard by an influential audience.

We will be there!

Eddie O'Hara MP and longtime Parthenon Campaigner passes away

July 25, 2016

A few days before the London Bi-Centenary Colloquy the Chairman of the British Committee left us

We were saddened to hear that Eddie O'Hara, MP, chairperson of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) had passed away on May 29th 2016, just days before the London Colloquy was to take place.

Eddie was a dedicated campaigner, in and out of the Commons, and was well liked and deeply respected by all of us from the other organisations who had had the honour and pleasure of working with, or hearing him, over the years. In particular we at IPSACI were fortunate to have participated at Colloquys co-organised by the BCRPM, the Australian Committee of veteran campaigner, Emmanuel "Menios" Comino, and the American Committees, in Athens and at the very successful Sydney Colloquy of November of 2013.
link to the BCRPM article-

Eddie hosted our chairman, in London in 2009, introducing him to the board of the BCRPM at a specially organised meeting for our two committees to exchange views and campaign goals. Eddie, with BCRPM founder Helen Cubbitt, took our chairman to the House of Commons for tea and dinner and to discuss the IPSACI goals.

Eddie, may you rest in peace, you will always be remembered for your dedication and as a friend of Greece and Greek culture.

The British Museum - a repository of looted colonial booty

Empires by definition use their power to gain possessions, whether these are other countries, that become colonies, or the natural resources and priceless cultural artifacts created and owned by those nations, tribes or individuals under occupation. While empires have often contributed to the spread of civilisation with the propagation of beneficial systems of civic organisation, of education, science, and an improvement in the standard of living in their colonies,and have often left legacies that have survived the end of each empire, there is also a dark side associated with empires and their history. Empires rule and require others to be ruled, to give up their national treasures, their resources and their very freedom. The British Empire, which gave much to the world in terms of government and organisation, was no exception when it came to its attitude regarding the property of others or their right to rule themselves.

 At the beginning of the 1800's, after a long series of wars and annexations of foreign territories Britain ruled an Empire on which "the sun never set". One quarter of the world's population laboured and lived under the Union Jack and woe-betide anyone who in his own country wanted to enter a hotel, be treated at a European hospital or wished to buy land in areas such as Kenya Colony's White Highlands reserved for "white" colonials. The Empire's hold on foreign countries, their wealth, their resources and their peoples did not come cheap for those civilisations or nations "upon whom fell Albion's covetous eye". Thousands of Burmese, Kenyans, Malayans, Aborigines, American Indians (in earlier centuries) and later, American colonists, Indians, Afghans, Sudanese , Cypriots, Irish and Chinese were arrested, imprisoned, shot or hanged when they demanded and acted to get control of the countries they were born and lived in.

National treasures were looted by troops or diplomats of the Empire from the palaces and streets of China, Hydrabad and Jaipur, from Egypt, from Baghdad, Damascus, Assyria, Timbuktu, Zanzibar, Cyprus and, perhaps most notable of all, were those from the sacred temple of the Parthenon, whose eastern pediment was mutilated over a series of years by a British peer, Lord Elgin - to decorate his house in Scotland. This was the beginning of the Parthenon Scultpures saga, which led to Greece and friends and supporters campaigning for the reunification of the Sculptures and pediments of the Parthenon. People around the world and in Britain from all walks of life have joined the campaign. 

If Elgin had been posted elsewhere....

This short protest video was made by Ares Kalogeropoulos, the I am Greeek - I want to go Home campaigner,  and Alexis Mantheakis. Music and image work by Ares, concept by Alexis (IPSACI)

IPSACI -  the international Parthenon Sculptures activist group - fighting with you to give a nation back the symbol of its identity and history

The River God - damaged in transit


Help us reunite the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens

IPSACI is an international non-profit organisation established and registered in Auckland, New Zealand, demanding the return of the Parthenon Sculptures from the British Museum to Greece, to be housed in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.  We also have offices in Athens where our chairman and many of our board members live.

Support the reunification of this unique UNESCO world heritage monument, the most hauntingly beautiful building in the world

Our Declaration

 Let the world protest and shout that the  Parthenon Sculptures looted from an occupied and enslaved Greek nation two centuries ago by Lord Elgin, a British diplomat, belong to Greece -  that it is time for the House of Lords and the Commons to pass a law , without further delay, for their return if a shred of decency is to be left behind in this whole shameful affair. The Greeks have engaged in endless rounds of civilised dialogue, sent cultural and citizen delegations and government ministers to Britain, in repeated attempts to find a chink of humanity and empathy in the stony hearts of the British Museum's administrators and in the corridors of  government of Whitehall,  but in vain. The time for dialogue has run out, as it inevitably also did for Britain's other possessions, the Crown Colonies - and we demand the Sculptures be returned to Athens. Our Hellenic culture can no longer be held hostage by the Trustees of the British Museum. Britain has violated Greece's most sacred symbol, the Parthenon.

Images of Greek Gods, carved from Greek marble, by Greek sculptors, paid for by citizens of the Greek states, to decorate the Parthenon temple of Athena, for all to see above Athens. Held now for 200 years in the British Museum in London. Without the consent of the Greek people.

Who we are

IPSACI is the world’s largest international action group working for the unconditional return of the looted Parthenon Sculptures from the British Museum to Greece. Via our  associated Greek and overseas internet campaign groups we represent over 200,000 supporters worldwide. We believe that action, primarily, not words, will help restore the unity of the Parthenon, a unique UNESCO heritage monument. 

The International Colloquys

Members of the Athens Board

The modern campaign was begun in an organised manner in 1981 by Emanuel Comino of the Australian Organising Committee who, together with the then Greek culture minister, the well-known film actress Melina Mercouri, set the foundations on which almost all the campaign groups today are based and helped create the momentum that has kept the issue going. Emanuel helped establish the British Committee, the BCRPM, managed to get parliaments around thee world to pass resolutions for the restitution of the Sculptures, and to this day is a dynamic force behind the colloquys that take place every year in international venues. We at IPSACI are proud to have shared fora with him and to coordinate aspects of our campaign, where practical, with the committees Emanuel is involved with.  

An important part of the campaign has been the gathering of the various national Parthenon committees from around the world in a series of colloquys started in Athens in 2012 at the New Acropolis Musum. Organised by the Australian, British and US committees it was followed by a very successful colloquy in Australia held at Sydney University in 2013, followed by a colloquy again in Athens in July of 2015, and the most recent one, in London in 2016. which was overshadowed by the sad passing of Eddie O'Hara, the chairman of the British Committee, a former MP and decades long supporter of the right of Greece to regain its looted Parthenon Sculptures. IPSACI was present at all the colloquys, except the London one where the central premise of non-confrontation with the British government was in divergence with our declaration and policy. At the other meetings our chairman Alexis Mantheakis was a speaker. Our co- founder and governing board member Alan Smith from Auckland spoke at Sydney University to a warm reception in 2013. While these conferences were occasions to exchange views and to decide on further steps to be taken, the British governement and the British Museum were unmoved by the arguments and so we at IPSACI continue with our activist actions and media campaign believing that only with pressure will the British government be forced into action.

The ice will not crack without a hammer, and we, with your help, will be that hammer.

Our Board of Directors

Alexis Mantheakis at the British Museum

Our board members live in Greece,  Australia and New Zealand - 

Behind these bars and the mock-Grecian columns of the British Museum the Parthenon masterpieces have been held without consent of the Greek people for 200 years.

They are not statues ... the silent protest video

The Parthenon Sculptures are religious carvings removed from a temple, a place of worship, the Parthenon, which is located on the Acropolis, known from ancient times as the Holy Rock.  The video explains this little discussed aspect - the desecration of a holy site by Lord Elgin to obtain statues to decorate his private residence in Scotland. Today these sacred carvings are displayed as secular museum objects by the Trustees of the British Museum in London.

Sacred carvings sawn off the desecrated Parthenon Temple, prised apart with crowbars  and broken to fit into Lord Elgin's packing boxes. These magnificent sacred to their creators  works of ancient Greek art lie on a shelf in random order, mere exhibits in a foreign environment.

The British Museum is neither British - there are no British items in it - nor in reality a museum. Only its location is British.  It is a repository of colonial empire booty built to show the extent of conquests of the Empire, a building  where citizens in centuries past could admire the booty of military and economic might of the British Empire on which the sun never set. It is also international only to the extent that its exhibits have been looted from colonies and subjugated countries from around the world. It is, in effect, little more than a modern version of Ali Baba's cave! Full of items for which the nations that created, paid for,  and owned  them never gave consent for their removal. The foreign treasures on display are protected from restitution (or deaccessioning, in Foreign Office-speak) to their rightful owners by the 1963 Museums' Act -  a case where those who took the items legislated their right to keep them!

Elgin, the Nose Thief, and Imperial Colonial Attitudes that led to the Desecration of the Parthenon

Elgin with his chaplain and crew removed dozens of statues and other exquisite carvings from the eastern pediment of the monument which symbolises Greek history, its civilization and is the very symbol of the Greek nation. It is a unique UNESCO designated cultural monument and the Parthenon is in fact the symbol of the United Nations' cultural agency logo. 

One should note that the Parthenon had not been looted by any invader for 2,300 years and that it was put in danger, and desecrated, by Lord Elgin. At approximately the same time an English contemporary writer recounted how a senior official of the British Consulate in Constantinople had a hobby of breaking off the noses of Greek statues in Athens whenever he visited Greece, and took great pride in showing off to his guests  the collection of vandalised noses he had in his office at the British Consulate by the Bosporus. But Elgin and the nose-vandal were in the minority among the many British PhilHellenes who supported Greece. An English contemporary of Lord Elgin wrote, in Latin, on the plastered base of a missing looted statue from the Acropolis, the following words:  


“That which the  Goths (and Vandals) did not do, was done by the Scots” 

British troops, archaeologists and diplomats cast a worldwide net to bring the treasures of formerly superior civilizations to display in their capital, in a museum built for this very purpose - to show the spoils of war and to attract visitors to view the artifacts of great civilizations whose creators had not of course agreed to their history and their most valuable cultural and religious (as in the case of the Parthenon, the temple of Athena) artifacts being taken away to be put on display by England. 

Britain had power, money and a fearsome military machine, but it lacked domestic cultural objects of value. The rough-hewn  stone blocks of Stonehenge and broken pots and pans of the Roman legions who had bivouacked in Londinium were not worthy of an Empire which otherwise had the trappings of grandeur and an attitude rooted in the belief of absolute racial superiority and that the actions of colonising the world were those of Manifest Destiny. It was an empire that declared, as recently as 1940, that it would last "for a Thousand Years". 

It fell apart, in just 25, after this declaration by Winston Churchill, its colonies rebelled and one by one Britain's foreign subjects took control of their own lives and their national destinies. Empire thus became Commonwealth. 

Chinese were allowed once more into the parks of Shanghai after removing the signs which said "No Dogs or Chinese". Kenyans were allowed to buy farms in Nakuru and Nairobi where their forefathers had lived for hundreds of years. Oxford and Cambridge-educated Africans, after dining in the halls of Balliol and Magdalene, were finally allowed to order coffee and tea in hotel lounges and to sit in the upper circle seats at the cinema in their own countries. Britain dismantled laws which "forbade" the return of countries to their nationals control.  

India was given back, as were Cyprus, Ghana, Burma, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Malaya, Kuwait, Iraq, Canada Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, and a hundred other countries. A century earlier Britain had been forced by English men of conscience to stop the lucrative trade in African slaves and the barter in opium, for which Britain waged two wars with China. 

One by one, colonial "possessions" were returned and Britain withdrew, to enter the newly formed European Union, but it still hung on to isolated vestiges of its grand past with its antiquated monetary system and theatrical white wigs worn by British lawyers and judges. With its entry into the EU the final curtain of Britain's Empire was lowered. 

Elizabeth Regina I had created the empire, Elizabeth Regina II was the monarch who, perhaps tragically, saw the sun set on one after the other of her "own" colonies, protectorates, mandates, trust territories, and dominions. Queen Elizabeth II will go down in history as the monarch who was forced to give back a quarter of the world their freedom, after hundreds of thousands of her subjects had paid a blood price first to bring Britain to the negotiating table. Great Britain entered the EU as the "United Kingdom" after a name dispute with Charles de Gaulle, who violently objected to England using the word Britain (Bretagne). The UK finally became a modern European democracy, however with an unelected upper House – the House of Lords - and a hereditary head of state, the monarch.  It was now an equal partner in the EU that it entered as a polyglot and multicultural nation with a past. (It has now with Brexit voted to leave the EU and will once again chart its own course). 

As a leading example of a democratic country it is ironic that the British people have a democratic right only to choose the representatives of the most junior of the three institutions that rule them - The House of Commons!

Like an aged spinster who zealously guards mementos of her youth, photographs of bygone, happier days, and objects that remind her of a grander past, so in Britain, in London's Russell Square, another aging spinster, the British Museum, jealously clings to  acquisitions of past centuries, the well guarded keepsakes of a glorious, but dead, past. Successive British governments have accommodated, with varying degrees of support or inaction, the trustees of the museum, with the tolerance that one has for an eccentric relative whose memories are rooted in another age. 

There is little doubt that the position of the Museum in hanging on to the Parthenon Marbles has been surpassed by history and by the democratic values of today. It must surely be a historic embarrassment, overt for some Britons, covert for others. The British Museum today is somewhat of a sad institution, demanding that others comply with its Victorian-era mentality rooted in the early 19th century when Royal Navy gunboats would threaten foreigners who did not step aside, and era when slaves were bought, transported and sold under the protection of the Crown, its agents and the Royal Navy. That era is gone. Britain and the world have changed. Colonial booty is no longer something to be proud of, or to be displayed as trophies.  

We at IPSACI, along  with organisations and individuals around the world, insist that the Parthenon Sculptures be returned to Athens, to the city where they were located for more than twenty centuries, until Elgin took them home, without ever producing any documents that he had acquired the statues legally (since there were none). In the debate in 1816, in Parliament,  there was very vocal objection to their purchase by the British government , and only an Italian translation of a (non-existent) firman, was referred to,  giving Elgin permission to draw the Parthenon and to pick up broken stones from the ground around the temple. The sculptures bought from Elgin amid this controversy were then placed in the British Museum for display and remain there until today.  A reminder of when force of arms and occupation was a source of pride, as was the display of artefacts taken from enslaved countries, as was Greece under the Turks when Elgin desecrated the Parthenon.

Guardian article regarding the current Greek government position

July 27, 2016

The Greek Culture Minister speaks to the Guardian as did IPSACI regarding the Sculpture issue and steps to be taken