2011 Archived News

Author urges Britain: Return Elgin Marbles to honour Greeks who died in WWII


Writer N.J. Slabbert, creator of the Sword Of Zeus Project on the role of Greece in WWII, has urged Britain to return the Elgin Marbles to Athens without further delay to honour Greeks who fell in the war.

While the return of the Marbles has been supported on general ethical and cultural grounds by other public intellectuals including Nobel Prizewinning author Nadine Gordimer and journalist Christopher Hitchens, N.J. Slabbert says the critical role that Greece played in WWII provides a very specific historical reason to return the Marbles now. He sets this position out in his forthcoming book The Sword Of Zeus: The Hidden Story Of How Greece Shaped World War II.

THE SWORD OF ZEUS TM Project is a new multimedia initiative which focuses new light on the extraordinary story of Greece’s heroic role in WWII and examines the Western world's complicated relationship with Hellenism. Created by award-winning writer N.J. Slabbert, The Sword of ZeusTM Project has been described by Greek-American industrialist Aris Melissaratos as "a major Hellenic event".



The Elgin Marbles stand in London, lit with honor, cared for, deeply loved.

And yet they are not home.

Wrenched from Athens long ago, they radiate the light of ancient Greece; a lamp undimmed by years.

And yet they are not home.

In Athens only will they not be Elgin’s.

If stone had voice these wonderworks would beg their keepers for

release, to be returned at last to where their makers lived and dwelt

and died.

There is no place on earth for them but Athens.

Are they not the living bone of Athens?

And Athens is a city made of bone.

As oceans speak from shells, so bone can whisper well of distant

deeps. Just so from Athens science and philosophy drew forth their

vast anatomies of thought, of brooding speculation, of every hand that reached up high to trace in heaven: “Why?”

And yet: the Elgin Marbles are not home.

In Athens rose the Western spine: assemblies of the people out of

which grew reasoned discourse. Millennia would pass and still the

richness of this marrow would persist.

In Jefferson. In Washington. In Franklin, Lincoln, Martin Luther King.

And yet: the Elgin Marbles are not home.

In the swastika years, Athenians became a people of bones. And those who stood against the horde would fall before the guns. In streets. In fields. In mud. In blood. On hills that Plato’s sandals might have trod.

To bones they went. And not for Greece alone.

They cannot dream, those ones who lie in dust. So let us dream for

them and, dreaming, do.

The year is now. The hour is come.

Please. Send the Elgin Marbles home.