Stephen Fry is, in his own words, ‘a philhellene who believes that any debt Greece may be in now is as nothing compared to the debt we owe Greece’ (email to the site editor 12/3/12).
In December 2011, Stephen wrote an article entitled ‘A modest proposal’, in which he reflected on our Greek heritage and argued for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from London to Athens, for display in the new Acropolis Museum. Such an act, he argued, timed to coincide with the UK’s hosting of the Olympic Games, would be a beautiful gesture, demonstrating gratitude to, and solidarity with, a country that has given the world so much and is currently suffering so greatly:
Greece made us. We owe them. They are ready for [the Marbles’] return and have never needed such morale boosting achievement more. And it would be so graceful, so apt, so right.
What greater gesture could be made to Greece in its time of appalling financial distress? An act of friendship, atonement and an expression of faith in the future of the cradle of democracy would be so, well just so damned classy.
It would also, Stephen notes, be the perfect way to honour the memory of the late Christopher Hitchens, a fellow philhellene who argued vigorously for the return of the Marbles.
I urge everyone to read Stephen’s passionate, eloquent, and witty piece and to get involved in the campaign for the reunification of the Marbles. Greeks are tired, dispirited, and deeply worried for their children’s future. The restoration of the Marbles would be a powerful expression of moral support, which would lift Greeks’ spirits and boost their confidence. As Stephen emphasizes, it is right thing to do, and this is the right time to do it.