The Elgin Marbles

I wish to say something about the Elgin Marbles.
To me these so-called cultural icons are much over-rated. To me, the nation state is the cause of much trouble & wars. They were created, I presume, because it was the best way to control people, to make them subjects or slaves of the ruler. Africa is an example. Originally tribal, it was divided up by Europeans & became a series of nation states. National boundaries in Africa cut across tribal boundaries. It isn’t surprising that Africa seems to be in a constant state of war. The West didn’t create Al Shabbab or Boko Haram but possibly the West did create the conditions under which they could arise.
If the Greeks want the Elgin Marbles (they call it or them – I have never seen it or them – something else I know) let them have them. I don’t know what it is or they are. I would surmise their aestheticism is questionable but the received opinion is that they unsurpassed, I surmise. It is said that if Lord Elgin hadn’t bought them & then transported them to England they wouldn’t exist anymore. It is also said that he paid good money for them & thus the deal was done. The Greeks claim (I think) that they were stolen. We British have stolen much art & indeed countries; we are responsible for the slave trade or at least a goodly part of it. I can’t see that we have any particular moral right to keep hold of them. The British Museum is stuffed full of artefacts stolen from what was the Empire. Myself, I am against colonialism & imperialism; to me they represent all that is worst in the history of the World. The British Empire is not something for the British to be proud of but it did leave a legacy of some good in some countries. For example trains in India.
But if the Greeks are so keen on them being returned, why not? Apart from anything else, it is hardly going to do us, the Great British Public – I use the phrase with irony – any harm. It will probably make the people of Greece happy for a couple of months & then they will forget all about them. They may indeed be subject to neglect & vandalism but that won’t make anybody’s life any worse. Greece has real problems, Britain has real problems, the West & the rest of the World indeed has real problems. ISIS, Boko Haram Al Shabbab & climate change to name but 4.
Art, sculpture & so on are not worth more than people. The issues that should be concerning us, the human race, are climate change, the issues of war & peace, poverty, famine, overpopulation, issues of capitalism & crime.
If the Elgin Marbles aren’t going to be given back to the Greeks they will be constantly lobbying for their return & may even hate us for it – or at least some Greeks, possibly only a few. Nevertheless, it will cause hard feelings & the Elgin Marbles are not worth it.

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