PARIS — Every day, tourists in the Louvre crowd around the Venus de Milo. The two-meter high armless marble lady is one of the museum’s most renowned pieces of art. But the statue, recovered by a farmer on the Greek island of Milos in 1820, might have to go home soon.
The statue of Venus, or Aphrodite in Greek mythology, “is a migrant. It’s about time she comes home,” Zampeta Tourlou, who represents the island in Greece's national parliament, explained to Euronews. He hopes she will be back before 2020, to celebrate the 200-year anniversary of her discovery.
Even if retrieving the statue might be complicated, since it was bought legally in 1820 by a French officer, the demand coming out of Milos has alarmed museum curators around the world. The British museum, for example, holds the world-famous friezes of the Parthenon.
The claim to artwork displayed in museums around the world is not the only demand coming out of Greece this week. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called yet again to restructure the Greek debt, this time by way of an opinion piece for French newspaper Le Monde.
When Greece was accepted into the European Union in 1981, the “free world” took the country in, even though it did not fulfill all the conditions, to avoid it falling into communism after the end of the Regime of the Colonels right-wing dictatorship in the 1970s.
By the time the grave economic crisis hit the Eurozone toward the end of last decade, Greece was only able to avoid bankruptcy thanks to a bailout by the European Central Bank. But the conditions, particularly high interest rates as demanded by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, have left Greece with little prospect of regaining its economic autonomy or a bonafide recovery.
Greek leaders have noted that after World War II, Athens and other European countries had cancelled Germany’s debt — more forgotten history about the country considered the cradle of modern civilization. So if the Eurozone is not willing to show some leniency on their billions in debt, they might as well try to get their priceless statues back.