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News that debt-ridden Greece is to open up many of its ancient monuments for commercial exploitation has caused consternation in many quarters. Strong opposition is being expressed about two aspects: the risk that the monuments could be damaged and the feeling that the dignity of the country’s national icons shouldn’t be compromised. Archaeologists have long slammed such initiatives as sacrilege and the Central Council of Archaeology has always been very choosy about who gains access for commercial purposes.

However, an unofficial spokesman for the Greek Minister of Culture may have remarked:

“It’s easy for a country to open up its national icons to massive gatherings without compromising their fabric or dignity, and wonderfully democratic as well. Our best friends the British (who look after the marbles for us) have shown the way at their own national icon. So next Summer we’ll be letting tens of thousands of random people in party mood into the Parthenon at night. There’s two-and-a-half times more room in there than there is inside Stonehenge so it’ll be fine. We invented democracy, the British invented monument protection so it all makes perfect sense.”

Party in the Parthenon...... perfect sense.


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