10ATHENS – “We feel deep sorrow at this disaster – which we saw happening live on our television screens (…). Whether it was an accident – which is the most likely scenario – or a malicious act, when we see a monument collapsing in front of our eyes, we are affected because these monuments are linked with our lives,” Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba said on Tuesday, commenting on the devastating fire that gutted Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris during an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency’s radio station ‘Praktoreio 104.9 FM.’
“It was a monument that was a reference point for the city, not just for French citizens in their everyday lives, but also for millions of visitors. We have been photographed there, it is a part of our life. So the destruction of a monument is a personal loss and, of course, a loss for the history of a place. It is a monument of the 11th century, which has survived various adventures, attacks and disasters,” she added.
She stressed that Greece will support the effort to restore the signature Cathedral of Paris. She also stressed the importance of being on alert regarding the protection of Greece’s own monuments. “The feeling that something may suddenly happen in a monument must make us understand the importance of better planning for the protection of the monuments,” she noted.
From Bucharest, where she is participating in a meeting of EU ministers of culture, Zorba said that the ministerial council focused on the growth course of the creative and cultural economy, stressing that “this is one of the aspects that one has to discuss because, on the other hand, the citizens’ relationship to culture, greater democracy and less discrimination is a second issue that is definitely important.”
The minister stressed that “culture is also an area of conflict and an area of leadership, and we must see it that way. In the last few decades and before that, of course, we have experienced cultural wars and therefore we must also see this aspect, because certain ideas – such as racist ideas – put Europe at risk and hurt democracy.”
On the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Zorba stressed: “The reunification of the Sculptures, whatever excuses are made, is a cultural one-way street …. Historical research brings us closer to the truth. I believe that we have been on a steady course as a country since 1982 when Melina Mercouri raised the issue (…). Reunification is just and I think it will happen in the future and hope that it will happen as soon as possible.”