20 years without Melina Mercouri
Every person, who has just heart the case of Parthenon sculptures knows definitely Mrs Melina Mercouri. The request for the Parthenon marbles’ or sculptures’ return was expressed many times since 19th century. Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1828, after the Greek War of Independence.In the General State Archives of Greece there is a folder entitled: Akropolis Von Athen, under the title Koenigreich Griechenland,
King Otto’s efforts for the return of the Parthenon sculptures are presented in this folder, contains 223 documents from 1834 and 1842,few years earlier Lord Elgin had removed the Parthenon sculptures. This was the first official request for the return of the Parthenon marbles which Lord Elgin removed during the Ottoman Occupation.
more…. on Vima newspaper
However, Mrs Melina Mercouri put this issue on international scene. She expressed her perspective about the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures with a passion and strong arguments. She wanted people to understand that the Parthenon sculptures are parts of a unique monument and they cannot be scattered in different museums around the world. She was the longest Minister of Culture, from October 1981 until 6 March 1994. This position gave her the opportunity to start an officially campaign for the return of the Parthenon sculptures.
The idea to make a campaign for the Parthenon sculptures was born when Mrs Melina Mercouri played on Phaedra movie (1962),A scene was shot οn the Parthenon Gallery, in the British museum.
Thirty years later on 4 August 1982. whan Melina Mercouri was Minister of Culture, she brought the Parthenon sculptures issue on the UNESCO Conference of Ministers of Culture.
She gave an amazing speech.
Merina Mercuri’s speech can be found here
Melina Mercouri was in U.S.A in April of 1967 when she was informed about the political regime change. “I was born a Greek , I will die a Greek” Melina Mercouri said , when the junta goverment decided to disqualify her from Greek nationality because she joined in the struggle against the Military Junta. This statement still remains in our minds & hearts.
Melina Mercouri’s personality symbolizes the passionate attitude of Hellenism. It is no accident that international press called her “The last Greek Goddess.”