Athena Rises: Let’s talk social media and the Global Campaigns to Reunify the Sculptures of the Acropolis
The Acropolis invokes the power of Athena, the goddess of war, wisdom, law and justice, science and art. A monument that universally represents cultural heritage and democracy. At it’s most vulnerable moment and on a scale never before seen, the temples of the Acropolis experienced shocking destruction and brazen theft, casting a shadow that waits to be lifted when justice is delivered.
As though there was a conspiracy to silence the sculptures – including the solitary Caryatid sister, the sculptures have endured a shipwreck; the spectacle of being home interior decorations for the morally and financially bankrupt Ambassador Lord Elgin; a grand standing production of dubious due diligence by the British Parliament and placed on view at the British Museum; and, finally, they endured the most damage by the callous uneducated “cleaning” of the colors and patina at the hands of the British Musuem.
Yet, perhaps, with patience, calculations and tactics that would even make Sun Tzu blush and bow in honor, the warrior spirit of Athena rises again. This time, Athena wields a just swift sword in the form of social media.
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Social Media: Education, Self-Organization & Collaboration
Social media is dramatically changing the landscape of democracies, social issues, business innovation and global campaigns. Imagine the global impact of social media on the Arab Spring; presidential campaigns in the western world; fundraising for social causes in lesser known or traveled areas; and influencing multinational corporations to act in regional labor and safety standards such as in Bangladesh. There is no hiding anymore.
Social media is circumventing complacent bureaucracies or bureaucrats in all organizations – government, business, non-profit and society in general.
With the power to access millions of people, a paradigm shift is happening.
First, let’s talk numbers.
- The global iconic beverage Coca Cola has 67 million Facebook fans and rapidly growing.
- The New York Times has 8.6 million Twitter followers.
- National Geographic has 2 million followers on Instagram.
- The Metropolitan Museum in New York has 581,000 followers on Twitter.
- The British Museum has 174,000 followers on Twitter.
- National Geographic has over 1,600 followers on Pinterst.
- As a video platform, each month 1 billion unique visitors go to YouTube.
- The Acropolis Museum has welcomed over 5 million visitors since it opened four years ago today.
- Imagine the number of visitors to the Acropolis the last half a century – possibly over 50 million visitors.
These numbers reflect the potential of social media for global campaigns.
Now, let’s talk actions about education, self-organization and collaboration on behalf of the reunification of the sculptures of the Acropolis.
One of the most important and significant actions of global campaign is raising awareness through education. People need to know the value and importance of the Acropolis and how it is integrated in every single person’s daily life.
The social media channels available today are ideal to share the history; architecture; the arts; the economic loss of stolen cultural heritage; the truth of the theft along with the moral outrage that a diplomatic representative, the Ambassador of Britain to the Ottoman Empire, literally hacked sculptures from the monument for his personal residence.
Be creative with multi-media platforms. The President of the American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Michael Reppas wrote Why Don’t We Just Sue The British Museum, A Litigator’s Perspective On The Elgin Parthenon Marbles Debate. Imagine taking the one dimensional solitary experience of reading a book to multifaceted approach with access to millions. If Reppas would create a YouTube video reenacting his version of a potential courtroom drama, he would be creating an experience where the greater public could share, comment and exchange thoughts together.
When one hears and sees a truth, it appears even more glaring and the continued silence by the British government even more tasteless. The power of the voice speaking the truth is undeniable.
Take the motto to heart, if you know something, share it and link it – be it video, photographs or articles. Use social media to educate.
Social media amplifies the message and accelerates self-organization. No leaders are necessary. Just the individual freedom to join, activate and unite for the common purpose to reunite the Parthenon sculptures and all of the other sculptures taken from the Acropolis.
- Recognize and support all industries touched by the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens: tourism, trade, academia, historians, authors, filmmakers, architects, scientists, politicians, museums, NGOs, law enforcement, legal community – to name a few.
Combined with the social media campaign already in place, this is a powerful network of millions.
Now, let’s talk about the real power. All efforts have been done to educate, self-organize and now the force of Athena’s sword of justice and fairness – is in the power of collaboration.
- Join forces. Actively, generously ‘like’, share, follow, Tweet, RT, MT, comment and <3!
- Support others who have suffered a similar injustice of looting or plunder of cultural heritage. Share the power of the movement to preserve and protect other cultural heritage monuments being threatened by war, the environment and economic difficulties.
- Set up a neutral organization as the authorized crowdsource funding organizer asking for $1/person to pay for shipping and return of the sculptures.
- Now, let’s be honest, there are more treasures in the ground yet to be discovered and billions of forgotten artifacts gathering dust in national museum basements that would make the most complicated compulsive hoarder appear sane. So, imagine the confidence to create bilateral loan agreements between governments offering first options to exhibit and study never before seen national artifacts outside of the country on a regular basis.
- Lastly, with each exhibit loan, create a win-win with a percentage returned to local museums or countries; select reproductions from the local area available for purchase at each exhibit location; and create opportunities to exchange technical expertise with all partners, museum, local businesses and artisans.
Leave no opportunity for collaboration unanswered.
As Athena wields the sword of justice, her bird, the owl, symbolizes wisdom and a slice from her tree, the olive tree, offers peace. In the same way, social media today advances justice, wisdom and peace for human kind and, in this case, the reunification of the sculptures of the Acropolis.
By Keri Douglas, writer/photographers, Washington, D.C. (Please follow 9 Muses News copyright use policy.)
RESOURCES: International Campaigns Supporting the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures
Comite Suisse pour le Retour des Marbles du Partheon (Swiss Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles)
Please share other organizations to add to the list.