After calling for the Brits to return the Parthenon sculptures looted by Lord Elgin, now the Mayor of the island of Chios has renewed calls on the French government to return the famous statue Aphrodite of Milos (Venus de Milo) currently housed in Louvre Museum in Paris.
“The issue has tortured me for 15 years, but now the time is ripe. We have now a documented legal position that states when the statue was taken from the island there was no business transaction, but there was an act of war.
“The statue was taken by a French naval officer and loaded onto a French warship. At that time, we were in a period of war,” says Gerasimos Damoulakis, Mayor of Milos.
Damoulakis has already set up a bidding committee, which has taken care of the request to collect a million signatures so that the matter can be taken up in the European Parliament.
“Some on Milos thought I was joking, but I always meant what I said. Work has already begun on the restoration of an old girls’ school in Plaka, the capital of the island, where the Aphrodite’s permanent home will be,” he added.
Damoulakis famously entered the Louvre Museum in Paris two years ago and rather than asking for a ticket, he said: “I am the mayor of Milos. I do not accept that I should have to pay for a ticket as I came to see one and only one exhibit, the Aphrodite of Milos, which belongs to my island.”
The museum agreed to invite the mayor and his entourage to enter for free. The doors of the museum opened and the Greek mission headed to the big hall which houses the famous statue. They sat for a while to look at it in awe and then left with the promise that one day they would not have to undertake such a long journey to admire it.