The Greek authorities have rejected a request by Italian fashion brand Gucci to hold a fashion show at the Acropolis on the grounds that the cultural character of the Acropolis monuments was inconsistent with such an event. Both Greek and Italian media are outraged by the decision.
Gucci has offered two million euros for permission to stage the fashion show at the Acropolis while television broadcasting rights would bring in another 55 million. Athens can't afford to reject the offer, La Stampa argues:
“This last, desperate show of pride is perhaps acceptable in spirit but it is of little help in view of the crisis that has not only decimated the Greeks' pensions and wallets but is also ravaging their very culture. ... As early as 2014 cultural historians sounded the alarm that the Acropolis was on the verge of collapse. ... But please, no money from the fashion industry! Because trying to make money with cultural assets is a form of prostitution. ... Better to go on allowing art treasures to be mistreated and ravaged by neglect, decay and vandalism. That's far less vulgar. Just as it's apparently not at all vulgar to accept further social inequality through drastic pension and healthcare cuts and rising unemployment.”
A hypocritical decision
Athens could have used the money to save many cultural treasures from decay, To Vima concurs:
“There is nothing more hypocritical and backwards than people complaining about the supposedly indecent and profane proposal of a fashion brand. … At the same time they are closing their eyes to the pitiful situation at most of the country's archaeological sites, which have been abandoned to their fate for so many years. … National pride and dignity are all very well, but it is far more important to protect the ruins we inherited from our ancestors and which belong not only to us, but to all humanity. We have the sacred duty to preserve them and make them known and not to let them decay.”