Jun 29, 2011

Two Statues: "It was for them we fought"

George Seferis, the Nobel prize poet (and Greece's ambassador to London in the 1960s) wrote of a beloved leader of the revolution, General Makriyannis; Makriyannis had no formal education and in his old age taught himself to read. In his battling days he had been able to preserve two ancient statues until the liberation. At that time he found that some soldiers were thinking of selling them.
Seferis quotes Makriyannis: "I took these soldiers aside and told them this: You must not give away these things, not even for ten thousand talers; you must not let them leave the country; it was for them we fought".

And Seferis wrote: "You see it is not a great scholar, nor an archaeologist speaking. It is a shepherd's son from Roumelia, his body covered with wounds: 'It was for them we fought'.

~from the memorandum submitted by Jules Dassin to the British Parliament (on occasion of a plea to return the Elgin marbles)

On this fateful day, may we remember "it was for them we fought" and not be swayed by false dilemmas and hyenas: where one head gets cut off, two spring up again. You must burn the cancerous in order to get rid of it once and for all.

Further reading:  
Makriyannis: The Memoirs of General Makriyannis 1797-1864 (ed. & trans. H.A. Lidderdale), Oxford: OUP, 1966 (in English).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be shy!