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BYRON LEAGUE A short history PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 17:32
The BYRON LEAGUE for Philhellenism and Culture is a citizens’ movement which is based in the Municipality of Vyronas (Byron), a suburb of Athens.
Its members come from all over Greece as well as from the Greek Diaspora. Many of them are people of the arts and letters.
Originally, the Byron League was called the Committee for the Protection of Lord Byron’s Heritage. A committee which was established in 1997 to mobilize Greek citizens in support of the “No Mining Campaign”, i.e. a campaign to prevent mining underneath Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of Lord Byron in North Nottinghamshire.
Ken Coates, a Labor Euro-MP at that time, had appealed for international support to stop the environmental threat against the Newstead Abbey posed by the proposed mining of a pillar of coal from a nearby pit.
So, we established a committee to collect signatures and inform the Greek public on this particular issue. But in the process the aims of the committee were broadened to promote the poetry of Lord Byron, his ideas and struggles for freedom and human rights.
Since 1998, we started to commemorate annually the anniversary of Lord Byron’s death in Mesolongi on 19 April 1824. In parallel, our committee chose to cooperate with the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles and promote a campaign entitled “Byron versus Elgin”. In this campaign we had the encouragement and support of the Melina Merkouri Foundation and Jules Dassin personally.
In 2001, the Committee for the Protection of Lord Byron’s Heritage proposed to the Greek Parliament to designate the day of Byron’s death (19 April) as “Day of Philhellenism and International Solidarity”.
In 2004, the committee was renamed “BYRON LEAGUE for Philhellenism and Culture”. In the same year, the 180th anniversary of Byron’s death was marked with many events, including the establishment of a statue of Byron in the main square of the Byron Municipality.
In 2008, the Speaker of the Greek Parliament Mr. Dimitrios Sioufas adopted the proposal for 19 April to be designated as “Day of Philhellenism and International Solidarity” and be marked annually from 2009. So, a Presidential Decree was issued to that effect.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 July 2009 17:58
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