The President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights andhuman rights activist, Mrs Kerry Kennedy, sided with the national issue regarding the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, in the context of a lecture hosted by the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation at the Acropolis Museum Auditorium on Monday 18 March 2019.
“Even when you take something from a small child they will tell you: It’s not fair. So it’s not fair to enter one’s home and take away the most valuable thing they have. And it is wrong to talk about the Elgin Marbles. They are Greek sculptures. The Parthenon Marbles. This is where they belong and this is where they must return. It is a right of the Greek people,” noted Mrs Kennedy during her Lecture on “Defending our Human Rights in History”.
Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis thanked Mrs Kennedy for her support with regard to the return of the Parthenon Marbles, stressing that the reunification of the monument is one of her life goals: “We have a duty towards the citizens of tomorrow. Not only to give them the origins of and the insights into the people’s struggles and achievements through the ages. We have a duty to hand over to them the history untouched, just like it was handed over to us. Unfortunately, for decades now the Greek people are being deprived of this right, as a significant part of our history was taken away from us by force. As a result, one of the most important monuments of our universal civilisation currently lies in pieces. As you may well understand, I am referring to the Parthenon Marbles, a large part of which is currently still at the British Museum. Having this in mind, I consider it a duty towards my country to fight with all I have so that our history may return right back to where it belongs. And it is a personal commitment not to stop fighting until these Marbles are reunited and we are able to have our history untouched and hand it over to the future generations just as we should, in one piece.”
Others who delivered speeches at the event included: Mrs Sissy Pavlopoulou, wife of His Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic, who spoke about our duty as a society towards history, so as to build a better future; the President of the Museum of the Acropolis, Professor Dimitris Pantermalis, who spoke about the right of people to their monuments, stressing the significance of Mrs Kennedy’s support in the fight for the return of the Parthenon Marbles; and the Rector of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Professor Meletios Athanasios Dimopoulos, who spoke in detail about both Mrs Kennedy’s and Mrs Vardinoyannis’ efforts.
An interesting discussion ensued between the speakers and the audience, focusing on the return of the Parthenon Marbles, as well as others issues regarding the human rights in the modern world.
Journalist Pavlos Tsimas was the event moderator.
The event was concluded with a musical rendition by composer Giorgos Hatzinasios, who played an excerpt from the opera El Greco, charming the audience.
The Acropolis Museum Auditorium was filled to capacity. The attendees included: National Defence Minister Evangelos Apostolakis, accompanied by his wife Despoina; New Democracy MP Olga Kefalogianni, representing the Opposition; Mr Marios Georgiadis, representing the Union of Centrists; the representative of Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all Greece, Archimandrite Silouanos Ioannis; the Chief of the Hellenic Navy, Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force, Air Marshall Georgios Blioumis; Prince Nikolaos; Prince Alexander and Princess Katherine of Serbia.
Note that Mrs Kerry Kennedy is the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. She started working in the area of human rights in 1981. Since then she has dedicated her life to the pursuit of justice, the promotion and protection of fundamental rights, and the preservation of the rule of law.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation have been working closely together in the context of the Speak the Truth to Power educational programme.
The Speak the Truth to Power Programme is an innovative initiative of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights on the human rights taught to millions of students across the globe.