Antiquity / Art / Greece / International / Leaders & People / Politics

Returnism: A Modern Day Tale of Greed, Art, Monuments and Justice (Part 1)

Delicious irony when Greek mythology filled with gods for love, wine and harvest is trumped by Biblical parables of the Prodigal Son; Cane and Abel; and, Moses with the 10 Commandments.

The modern day provocateur is none other than the timeless nature of art, monuments, greed and the opportunity to do what is right. Imagine this story …

  • An old king resting on this throne
  • On his head, a crown heavy with jewels
  • One, a diamond from Lahore.
  • Silently contemplating, debating, suffering a
  • Decision on the destiny of his two son’s treasures. 
  • One son, a painter and storyteller 
  • Explored foreign lands
  • Recording his adventures, experiences
  • For all to learn, understand. 
  • The other, a diplomat, an Ambassador
  • With the blessing of the young Chaplain
  • Coveted monuments in the same foreign lands.
  • He bribed and sliced monuments from their bearings
  • To decorate his mansion at home. 
  • A father’s love doesn’t choose
  • between an honest wage earner or
  • a thief in great debt.
  • A son is a son.  
  • A moment of love wrapped in weakness
  • The King bought the son’s looted monuments.
  • Because he, too, coveted great monuments. 
  • Not unlike many families
  • Mythology is created, conflict, sins hidden deeply 
  • Creating a new story with confidence of
  • Ownership and rightful possession.
  • How shall the king exhibit his son’s treasures
  • Without revealing that one son wrote
  • of the other son’s cultural rape.
  • Yet, the story is interrupted by the king’s obsession
  • to possess even more, all, until
  • He wants to own, too, a wall with graffiti sliced
  • from its bearings in the middle of the night
  • Only to be offered for sale by an anonymous
  • thief. 

A ancient thief confronted by a modern thief.

Could the answer for all stolen, looted art be: returnism.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C.


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