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June 21, 2010

The Elgin Marbles are going to Dresden - Christie Davies can exclusively reveal

Posted by Christie Davies

It has long been known that when the Greeks went on their lavish spending spree based on loans from German banks, the collateral for these loans was selected Greece antiquities. Now in return for the German tax-payers rescue of the shattered Greek economy and purchase of Hellenic "gift bonds" it has been agreed that the Parthenon shall be dismantled and re-created atop a sandstone hill east of Dresden near the Polish border.

For the Germans it is a good deal for it will bring tourism and employment to a region that has been in economic difficulties since reunification. It will bridge the economic gap between Ossies and Wessies and at last make true the claim "Wir sind ein Volk" (we are one people). Dresden has a skilled labour force trained by the difficult task of restoring the ancient buildings of that gem-like city so horribly shattered by the shameful Allied bombing of 1945.

It is the only way in which the Greeks can assuage the anger of the German taxpayer at having their Geld und Gut used to support these schnorrers of the south. In return the Germans have promised that they have no further antiquarian claims on Greece and that they will provide special police units to deal with any public disorder in Athens that the removal of the Parthenon may provoke.

The Germans have been in love with Greek culture since the time of Schiller and Winckelmann. One German statesman even believed that the people of Schleswig-Holstein were descended from the ancient Spartans and that this accounted for their distinctive gruel and unrivalled hardiness. Even more strangely a German clergyman was convinced that Jesus was Greek and that this accounted for his charismatic qualities. On this view the Parthenon already truly belongs to Germany, rather than to the profligate people of unknown ancestry who now live on the territory of the ancient Greeks, a people long ago conquered by the Macedonians.

The deal has been secretly negotiated between Antiochus Epiphanes the Greek special envoy for international debt and Professor Dr. Dr. Hermann Starke formerly of Dorpat University and famous for his Gedanken der griechischen Werke, who is now head of the Stifftung Arminius based in Dortmund that oversees all German archaeological projects in the Eastern Mediterranean. Its enormous endowments were provided by Hedda von Zillergut the unmarried heiress of a fortune derived from Germany's biggest import-export business Schlockgesellschaft, in memory of her mother Elma who was born in Izmir.

The sticking point in the negotiations was that the Greeks demanded as they have done for decades, that Britain's Elgin Marbles be returned to their rightful place on the Parthenon. The British have always refused to do this because the marbles would have been wrecked by the corrosive acidic smog from the industrial plants in Piraeus and the endless Athenian traffic jams. Yet so determined were the Greeks to have them that they borrowed money to construct a hermetically sealed capsule close to the Parthenon in which they could be displayed.

The British pointed out that this did rather destroy the point of the exercise. However, Britain's objection has collapsed with the decision to move the Parthenon to the smoke-free hills east of Dresden. The old polluting factories of Karl-Marx Stadt, now once again Chemnitz, have long since been closed or moved to the Kaliningrad triangle. Most of the inhabitants of the cities of the Free State of Saxony go to work by tram because they cannot afford to run a car. It is a contrast with Athens where the better off all have two cars, one with an odd and one with an even number plate, so as to evade restrictions on which days to drive into the city.

The British have been promised in return the Ishtar Gate of Babylon from the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin. This will in theory be a permanent move but the Babylonian antiquities will also be collateral for any future loans Britain requests from Germany; Britain would in effect be given preference in this respect over failing Eurozone countries. In this way Germany hopes to gain the most comprehensive collection of antiquities in Europe.

From a European point of view one crucial benefit of Athens losing the Parthenon is that it will crush the nationalist arrogance of the Greeks, end that country's disputes with Turkey and Macedonia and settle the Cyprus problem. One of the causes of the collapse of Greek finances is that in the past the country spent as much as seventeen billion dollars (5.6% of its GDP) on defence, an expenditure the backward little country could not afford and one far greater than other European countries. Who were the Greeks planning to attack? Is the spirit of EOKA and AKRITAS still strong? Why were the Greeks not prepared to rely on NATO for their defence and align themselves with American foreign policy?

With the Parthenon gone the Greeks will be forced to discard their absurd over-identification with ancient Greece. No more absurdly expensive exercises in national boasting like the Athens Olympics which first left Greece with a budget deficit of 6% of the country's GDP. A humbler modern Greece divested of its appropriated past will be willing to concede disputed islands and oil drilling rights to Turkey and to give the people of Macedonian ancestry in Northern Greece the right to self-determination. The present Greek collapse is not as many think the result of individual greed but of collective hubris; the Greeks grossly overestimated their own capabilities and this is the punishment that follows the sin of pride.

We thus have a very welcome win-win-win solution. Germany wins a prize its historically minded people and eager archaeologists have long coveted - the Parthenon complete with Elgin marbles. Britain inherits Babylon and obtains economic security from the only country in Europe with a decent economy. The Greeks have been rescued from total disaster and forced to abandon the false and base cultural assumptions that led them into trouble in the first place.

Christie Davies discussed Greek corruption and predicted the European crisis in an invited lecture in Prague in 2007. He claims no prescience whatsoever.

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Can't we just kill two birds with one stone by nuking Greece and Turkey?

Posted by: Frugal Dougal at June 22, 2010 01:29 PM

This is an interesting parable. The Greeks false pride in a faked ancestry has destroyed them utterly.

Posted by: Hilary at July 13, 2010 02:17 AM
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