London – Londoners woke up today to a bright sunny day but learned that one of their national treasures was gone. Big Ben, the nickname for the great bell of the clock in the bell tower known as Elizabeth Tower, and the tower itself, were missing. Elizabeth Tower is at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and today, there is just a hole where it once stood. Bell, clock and tower… .all gone.
People throughout Great Britain were initially amazed and astonished but turned quickly to anger. Cab driver, Bruce Thomas stated, “Who would have done something like this? For what purpose? I hope they catch the buggers and hang ‘em up high”. Others blamed the police. “Yeah, where were the bobbies?” waitress Martha White questioned. “How does an entire tower disappear and the police have no clues? It’s ridiculous”.
When asked this very question, Scotland Yard’s Detective Chief Inspector William Hamilton, had no comment but added that they have set up a command post and brought in experts from around the world to investigate all possibilities, including alien abduction.
The Queen and the Royal Family are said to have taken the news quite hard. Official spokesperson for the Family released a written statement, “Britannia’s head is hung low at the disappearance of our country’s beloved national symbol. We ask the world community for their help. The Tower and the Bell need to be back in their rightful place for the good of our people and the good of our country. The Tower and Bell must be returned”.
Hours later, a group claiming responsibility, contacted Cosmos Philly, a community based Greek-American media network out of Philadelphia, and arranged a press conference. A spokesman for the group, who would identify himself only as “Lefteri,” a cigarette dangling from his mouth, spoke with reporters from Cosmos Philly, the BBC, Associated Press and other worldwide news agencies. He was flanked by twelve men, dressed in foustanellas and tsarouchia.
“Nai, we took it,” Lefteri said. “So what?” he added calmly. When asked who “we” are, Lefteri responded in his heavy Greek accent, “We… the Greeks! The Greek people took the English people’s kabana and the tower it was in and we are not giving it back. It is now the Greek people’s bell and we are changing the name of it to “O Megas Haris,” after the most famous Greek comedian, Harry Klynn”. Lefteri then showed the reporters a photograph of the tower next to the Parthenon as he pointed to it, asking, “Looks good, eh? Fits right in. It belongs here. Besides, we want to protect it”.
A BBC reporter questioned the theft, but Lefteri was quick to respond that it was all legal. “We did not steal it. We had a few pints with one of the night watchmen of the Tower and since he had no money to pay for the drinks, we paid and he signed this paper transferring the bell and tower to the Greek people”. Lefteri held up a beer stained cocktail napkin showing it. The BBC reporter, obviously annoyed, retorted that the receipt would not hold up in court.
“There is precedent for this type of transaction, Kirie BBC reporter,” Lefteri stated. “Between 1801 and 1812, the Englishman, Lord Elgin, came to Greece and stole many of the statuary and friezes from the Parthenon, including one of the lovely caryatids – one of the beautiful young Greek maidens in the Erechtheum. He had a receipt too, from a conqueror, not the legitimate government of our beloved Hellas. Were the Nazis the legitimate government of France when they raped the country of its art treasures? I’m sure they got a receipt too. Besides, your Lord Elgin conveniently mistranslated the Sultan’s mandate giving him authority to remove the artifacts, but in reality, he had no such authority. So give us back our young Greek maiden and the other Elgin Marbles, and we give you back Ben. Okay?”
Upon learning of the news of who took Big Ben and their demands, Londoners’ responses were mixed from, invade Greece and take it back, to give back the Elgin Marbles in return for Big Ben. British Museum officials, which houses the Elgin Marbles, were quick to respond, “The Elgin Marbles are safer here in England than in Greece. Besides, we make a lot of money from showcasing the Elgin Marbles and other artifacts we have stolen… excuse me, rescued from other countries”.
When asked of his thoughts about the Elgin Marbles and Big Ben, 48 year old, retired Greek government worker, Stavro Karastergiannidiopoulos, stated, “@#$*&%@^*!” (translation is unavailable). His tavli partner, 49 year old Greek Army retiree, Giorgos Stamatas added, “They don’t give us back the Elgin Marbles… we take the Crown Jewels next… maybe Buckingham Palace. That would make a nice bouzoukia”.
Lefteri added, “You English think you are so smart, hiding behind your laws and saying you cannot return the marbles because the law does not permit it. Whose law? The British law? Like Gus Portakalos said in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” “When my people were developing philosophy your people were still swinging from trees”. Mr. BBC reporter, tell the English people to do the right thing. Just like Big Ben belongs in London… our young Greek maiden and the other Elgin Marbles belong in Athens. Bring her home!”
During the press conference, thousands of people began congregating and forming in the streets and upon hearing Lefteri, they all began chanting, “Do the right thing. Bring her home! Do the right thing! Bring her home!
It is time the British government did the right thing. No more excuses, no hiding behind ambiguous laws, not more delays. Allow the young Greek maiden and the marbles to go home so she can once again bask in the Greek sun and look over the Aegean sea.
“Do the right thing. Bring her home!”
What they have done is so outrageous that a new word have come out of it. “Elginism… an act of cultural vandalism”. If you wish to sign a petition for the return of the Elgin Marbles go to: http://www.returnthemarbles.com/
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