Photographer's Note

Many people have mixed feelings about ZOOs these days. Keeping animals in cages feels so cruel. They certainly live in the captivity much shorter than in the wild. Yet due to the irresponsible activity of humans around the world, so many animal species face extinction, that ironically ZOOs may be soon the only places where you can see some species alive.

Similar reasoning may be applied to large museums. They are often located in countries which were, not such a long time ago, collecting (phrasing it subtly) art from all around the world. I remember visiting great art exhibitions in Germany, you kind of watch a painting and think: how did it get here? British Museum (in this photo) does not have good reputation neither. The most infamous example being the Parthenon Marbles stolen from the most iconic Greek monument. Of course, museum claims they were legally purchased from the thief, so they have not done anything wrong, and the thief said he got permission to vandalize the temple from the Ottoman Empire which was occupying Greece and didn’t care about its cultural treasures at all, but whatever the excuse is, the feeling of disgust remains. Read more about recent (2021) developments in this case below.
On the other hand, similarly to endangered animal species, we have seen in recent years the damage and destruction of the ancient sites which were purposedly executed by the former Islamic State. Taking that into account some treasures gathered from all around the world to the British Museum may have been ironically saved from the destruction, similarly to the endangered animal species, which may be soon seen in ZOO only.
The question remains whether the species, after being saved, should at certain point be released to their natural habitat. That would certainly be a noble approach once they get a chance to thrive in their original countries again. I can imagine that could certainly be a happy end for the Parthenon Marbles.

In 2021 there were two important developments in the case of Parthenon Marbles
In March 2021 the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson issued a point-blank rejection of the Parthenon marbles being returned to Greece. Stating "The UK government has a firm longstanding position on the sculptures, which is that they were legally acquired by Lord Elgin under the appropriate laws of the time and have been legally owned by the British Museum’s trustees since their acquisition.”
For the first time, UNESCO, on 30 September 2021, issued a decision calling for the United Kingdom to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, beyond the positive recommendations that it has issued for years. Specifically, Decision 22 COM 17 of UNESCO's Inter-Governmental Committee, asks the British government to urgently review its policy against repatriation of the marbles.

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Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7409 W: 106 N: 19462] (74509)
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